Holiday Books

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Happy December 1st everyone. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I recently began spending time at the Charles W. Lightner Library, a Christian Community Library. What a wonderful assortment of titles – currently 6,300 but who is counting? The number is constantly increasing as new books are acquired.

As I browse the shelves, I see so many titles perfect for family reading. The chances of the whole family being on the same page together when it comes to faith and spirituality is increased when Christian book titles are on the bookshelves of the family library.

Here are two publications which will reinforce your family’s determination to put the focus back into Christmas where it belongs. Pre-holiday reading is recommended!

  • 7 Days of Christmas: The Season of Generosity by Jen Hatmaker
  • Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder

You, too, can join in on the Advent Conspiracy. I have! I’m participating in a group discussion with the local United Methodist Church in Bel Air.

Keep your eye on AllThingsFulfilling.com.  In the New Year there will be more recommended titles because there are genres of books that can make a world of difference to individuals and family alike who want to live more fulfilling lives. Click here for one more title to add to this short list! There is a meaningful chapter about Christmas in it you will not want to miss.

Post Script:  Ever since I entered the media world as a blogger and writer ten years ago, I have taken about a two-week hiatus, through the holidays, from posting writings. This year it will be a little different. I am dedicating myself to a whole month of quietly observing the holy season and to the renewal of spirit. When the New Year rolls around, 2020!! I will be refreshed and rejuvenated.

Merry Christmas to You and to Yours.

 

Self-Fulfilling Action

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We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than through our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we accomplish goals.” ~ Stephen Covey

 

It’s the season of Thanksgiving. Ten years ago I had limited knowledge about independent publishing and I had never written anything. But I had a strong interest!  If it hadn’t been for the fruits of my labors over a span of the last decade, there is no way a project that will soon come to fruition would have landed in my lap!  A year ago I became entrusted to write someone else’s story. I am honored and thankful! The publication is going to be outstanding.

Truly, it takes just as much action as it does words when it comes to becoming a writer and independent publisher. Nixing fear and doubt and replacing it with unwavering faith and the words “I AM WRITING AND PUBLISHING A BOOK” (rather than I am trying to) makes a big difference in ones determination and motivation to get the job done, project after project.

The opportunity came on the heels of taking a break from any serious writing time because for a season in my life I became full-time caretaker to two terminally ill parents and it reinforced my belief in the power of writing to heal from loss and bring personal fulfillment.

The narrative was so much fun to write! I know the artist is looking forward to revealing his new publication and it will soon be hot off the press!  Keep your eye out on this website, soon more information will be posted.

Artful Titles

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“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines who you will be when you can’t help it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Last night, many artists whom I’ve directly or indirectly made connection with in the art community were in my thoughts when I attended Bruce E Mowday’s book signing for his publication Stealing Wyeth. The book signing was held at the Harford County Public Library in Bel Air.

The veteran reporter, investigative journalist and public speaker knows how to tantalize an audience! Bruce E. Mowday gave us just enough information about the theft of fifteen Wyeth paintings for us to want to learn more and read on! All you art enthusiasts and crime book fans will want to know more about the characters, the art thieves and the author behind the story. Go to the author’s website. He has published about twenty books in various genres and he says his range of subjects can be contributed to his avid interest in people, both from the past and in today’s world.

Soon, more revelations will be made about more books artists world-wide will be interested in.  Keep your eye on this website.

 

Published! At 100 Years Young

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It is never too early or too late to tell your story. Reposting this story from a few years book. Publishing at any age is admirable!

All Things Fulfilling

Life is like a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can at it. ~ Danny Kaye

Today I am scheduled to speak with the Routt County Council of Senior Citizens about memoir writing. I will be im_no_spring_chicken_wooden_signintroducing my publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. After discovering the work of Virginia Wade Ames, I am feeling as if I have published my memoir as a spring chicken!

The WayfarersCentenarian Virginia “Ginny” Wade Ames has become a published author at 100 years young. Her book The Wayfarers: Journeying through a Century of Change is her latest creative endeavor. She has been an artist all her life and when macular degeneration made it difficult to see, she turned her attention from various mediums of visual arts to writing. She has four more manuscripts in the pipe-line for publication.

Throughout her life she has worked…

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She’s Got the Whole World in Her Hands

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Independent publishing has turned the whole publishing world nearly upside down because if you have the will, now there is a way! There is no longer the need to get the “green light” from a mainstream publisher to move forward with getting a book into the market place. Every tool is now available to anyone of any age to write, publish and sell through e-commerce or through any portal an author is willing to pursue. What is needed is a mature level of stick-to-it-ive-ness to accomplish such a goal.

Today, I’d like to share a story about a young girl from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. At thirteen years of age, she recently independently published her first book. I can well remember the fulfilling feelings when I birthed my debut publication which became an award-winning memoir. But, I was decades older than the girl featured in today’s story. Read more about this story of outstanding accomplishment here because it may inspire you to step up and write the story you’ve had inside of you.

God Blessed you, Mackenzie Ostrowski, with a creative spirit filled with powerful motivation and dogged perseverance to inspire others. At your youthful age, you’ve got the whole world in your hands and you’re going for it already in your young life! Good for you! Make the most of all your interests.

I can’t wait to read Mackenzie Ostrowski’s debut novel and it sounds like her success has encouraged her to write more.

Thank you to Laurie at the Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church for sending me this story!

“Be open to God’s novelty.”

Hallowed Halls of Johns Hopkins

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The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. ~ M. Scott Peck, author of Gifts of the Journey, In Search of Stones and The Road Less Traveled

Happy Halloween, everyone. On October 3rd, my cousin Meg Heisse and I witnessed a little hocus-pocus when we attended An Evening of Victorian Magic at Evergreen Mansion and Library, which is a Johns Hopkins University Museum. Since my cousin is a member, we attended a pre-performance reception held in the Asian red room among Chinese and Japanese collectibles. The bartenders stirred up Victorian libations and we saw up close magic tricks by David London. Mind reader indeed, out of a 52 card deck, the magician asked me to select one card and show it to others.  No slight of hand involved, through telepathic transmission he correctly identified the card I had picked. But that was just the start of the delightful evening. The magician had many more magic tricks up his sleeve once the show started and he came to the stage.

There was no need to build a stage for the evening because there is already a Victorian era theatre in the Evergreen Museum. And although there were no upper level seats for celestials to sit as in many Victorian theatres, we were told apparitions are in or about the rooms of the mansion. The theatre, painted by Russian Artist Leon Bakst, was used regularly to entertain the three Garrett boys, who at one time lived there.

The Evergreen Museum and Library was built in 1850 and became home to railroad magnate, John Garrett and his family. He was President of Baltimore and Ohio “B & O” Railroad. A little over one hundred years later, in 1952, the Italianate home from the Guilded Era was donated to Johns Hopkins University and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also in the mansion is a 30,000  volume library with much of which is English Renaissance literature. Paintings by Picasso, DegasModigliani and stained glass by Tiffany, a 23 karat gold plated bathroom all are housed in the structure. In the Asian red room I spied several pieces of Chinoiserie furniture and as I snooped around in the museum gift shop at Evergreen, I saw several beautiful publications about stained glass.

Today, my Halloween treat to our readers is a recipe for soul cakes which traditionally was the offering to others on All Hallows Eve. And here are a few pictures of our evening at Evergreen Museum and Library, too. Look carefully you might see things that fool the eye!

Some time soon I do look forward to returning to the historic Evergreen Museum to take the full tour. This wonderful landmark is only one of the institutions of the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins. Check out the others on their website.

Thank you Meg for inviting me to accompany you for the evening.

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

 

Observations En Plein Air

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For me, plein air painting is about taking home memories – contemplating the subject with all senses. Smell, touch, temperature, weather – the feeling of warm sun or the start of a rainstorm, for example – and sound. ~ Melissa Jean

On October 6th, despite the calendar indicting fall had arrived, the lingering pleasant temperatures were perfect for a day of painting “en plein air” for artists who had gathered at Liriodendron Mansion.  It was a cloudy day but there was no biting chill in the air. The setting for day one of a week long plein air painting festival sponsored by the Harford Plein Air Painters and Maryland State Arts Council, was a great venue.

The property was purchased in 1890 and the Palladian mansion “Liriodendron” was built as a summer home to Dr. Howard Kelly, his wife and nine children. He was one of the founding fathers of Johns Hopkins Medical College. Artist John Singer Sargent left a legacy painting for the college a long time ago when he painted Dr. Kelly along with the other the founding physicians. For more information on Dr. Kelly and his home, please visit this writing called Perfect Timing.

As I walked the beautiful and expansive grounds of Liriodendron Mansion (originally 196 acres but now about 100 acres) with tall tulip popular trees towering over me, and their pungent, earthy-odored, crunchy dried leaves beneath my feet, I watched artists paint. I became increasingly more excited about new art-related opportunities that will come with a move to Harford County and for a new season of life.

The day reminded me of one the most fabulous plein air painting experiences I have ever had the pleasure to witness on an outstanding ranch just before I moved from Colorado back to my native Maryland, two years ago, after a forty year absence. That day was also cloudy but it was also a joy-filled day. Here is a link to the blog if you are interested in reading about Harvesting Others Joy and seeing some wonderful pictures of the experience and the artists.

Here are a few photos from last week’s plein air festival in Harford County, Maryland. There were some wonderful works in progress. If you have never been to a plein air festival, do so! It is a great way to learn a little something about art and about the creative people behind the art!

Photo above & below: Artist Ray Ewing

(Pictured below: Artist Sandhya Sharma. She is originally from India and I enjoyed talking with her about her

her observations of art opportunities and the art connections she has made in America)

(Below: Artist Pamela Wilde is also a portrait artist. She recently participated in a community portraiture project in nearby Havre de Grace. Click here to read more about it.)

(Above: Artist painting indoors surrounded by archival Johns Hopkins medical ephemera of Dr. Howard Kelly)

Below: A few images on display and for sale from various other venues.

Artists are members of the Harford Plein Air Painters

Liriodendron (aka tulip poplar trees) are not quite yet in their full autumn splendor. But soon….as God intends it.