Stillwater Ripple About Page

Hi, I’m Norm, Author of Stillwater Ripple

I’m Norm Leonard, and I’m the author of Stillwater Ripple. I identify as a husband, father, dog lover, scientist, natural historian, mental health advocate, and educator. I’m an aspiring polymath. In my free time, I try to play guitar, and I do a lot of outdoor activities. I take pictures sometimes, and I garden when I can. (I once had a really nice, large garden complete with a chicken coop; these days, it’s just a few containers.) And I read. A lot.

I write Stillwater Ripple. It’s a fun project for me, and I learn about myself each time I make a post. No one pays me to write this stuff, and it wouldn’t be the same if they did. It would be nice if someone made an offer, though. Just sayin’.

What’s On Stillwater Ripple?

Stillwater Ripple is a little bit of storytelling mixed with a lot of ideas. It’s a sandbox, a mental playground of sorts.

On this site, you will learn about the things I believe and my ideas about why they’re good and necessary things to think about. You don’t need to agree with me. In fact, I expect that a lot of people will disagree, and that’s completely OK. I’m not looking for or asking for validation. I’m merely putting my 2 cents out in the world – and we all know how far 2 cents (won’t) get you these days!

That said, you’ll discover a couple key ideas that get repeated throughout Stillwater Ripple pages and posts. If you agree with them, then you probably enjoy reading what I share. But if you disagree, then you probably think I’m pretty stupid and can’t believe you wasted your time reading my drivel.

Stillwater Ripple Themes

Here are some of the more persistent themes you’ll find in my writing:

I believe that people are basically good. If you come here thinking that people are basically bad, then you’re gonna call me naive and starry-eyed. That’s OK with me.

I believe that people grow and change. While leopards may not change their spots, humans aren’t leopards, and we can grow if we choose to.

I think the world is beautiful and worthy of preservation. That includes humans, even though humans are often mean and cruel and ugly toward one another.

I’m curious and enjoy being busy. I do a lot. I like to try new things. I’m comfortable when I’m over-extended and get bored if I don’t have multiple on-going projects. It’s a bit of a problem sometimes, but it’s how I like things nevertheless.

I understand loss and grief and the things that come with it. My experiences once froze me solid as stone and nearly destroyed a really, really good marriage. That’s why I learned about mental health and became an advocate for a topic that is besmirched with stigma and ridicule. It shouldn’t be, and those of us who understand should speak up – loud and strong and, when possible, with a unified voice.

I’m working on a longer statement of personal values called This I Believe, the title of which is inspired by the NPR show of the same name.

Early on

I fell in love with life at an early age. Not sure exactly when, but it hasn’t changed since forever. Sure, there were episodes where the pep left my step for a minute – or a couple years, in one case – but, really, I’ve always found the world fascinating. I can’t imagine not being curious or lacking passion.

Stillwater Ripple mascots Sophie and Xander.
Stillwater Ripple mascots Sophie and Xander. They make ripples in the most amazingly joyful way imaginable!


I’m working pretty hard on a few projects right now, but the the biggest and most ambitious one is a deep dive into learning about myself. Again. Life happens, and you can either let it break you, or you can grow through the experience. I choose to grow.

The bits I choose to nurture now may not be the same bits I nurture in the future, but they’re a jumping off point for the next chapter of my story. It includes transitioning to a new career, learning new skills, improving a few skills, and expanding my horizons to include things that were previously outside my comfort zone. Growth doesn’t happen when we’re feeling comfy.