As Far Away as Ever

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“Distance lends enchantment to the view.” ~ Mark Twain

Welcome back to All Things Fulfilling! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas. Soon it will be time to ring out the old and bring in the new year.

Our family celebrated Christmas southwest style in New Mexico. It included tamales, visiting the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (the pop-culture display was my favorite!) and the luminara festival on Christmas Eve in Old Town Albuquerque. We even experienced  a bit of our son’s world over the three day vacation by taking in a movie (Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens – what else?).

Now we have re-entered our own atmosphere of the frozen tundra of the Centennial State. While we were away we escaped the -29 degree temps which hit northwest Colorado the night after Christmas. Last night I was back in my own cozy bed and it was also a little balmier outside at -14 degrees farenheit. I still had visions of the Land of Enchantment in my head.

Below: Finally a reunion with our son, Marc. It had been a long 10 months and how I have missed seeing him!

Marc & me xmas 2015 at his place

Albq Luminarias Christmas eve resizedAbove photo: Hundreds of thousands of luminaras bedazzled Old Town Albuquerque on Christmas Eve.

The display far exceeded my expections and this one house alone had over 1200 lanterns multi-tiered all over the property. Blocks and blocks of neighborhoods were lit. We walked and walked taking in the festive atmosphere and listening to the carolers in the gazebo in Old Town Albuquerque.

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Above: The San Felipe de Neri Church, photo by Charles Mann. There were so many people it was

difficult to photograph it myself.

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Above: Hot air balloons on Christmas Eve all lit up. Photo credit: Terry Leonard

meghans family and ours

 Following the traditions of the Womack family, we celebrated new friends and Christmas Day with the pop of Christmas crackers, an English tradition.

marc and meghan xmas 2015

 As my grandmother used to say the moment the last Christmas gift was opened, “Well, Christmas is as far away as ever!”

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. We will be finishing up the three part interview with playright Jorge Avila. Click here to read Part I and Part II.

On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing a few images from the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History .

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

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The Season of Anticipation

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As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. ~Eric Sevareid

Did you open the first few doors on your Advent Calendar yet? We are three days into the countdown of when Christians worldwide will celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

I am very excited because this year my husband and I will be joining our son to experience a different kind of  Christmas – unlike any we have celebrated before. Here is a little of what I am anticipating.

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As you prepare for the holidays, take time out to experience the magic of the season. It’s hard to do that when we are rushing from one activity to another. Have a fulfilling Christmas by spending less. Here is an excellent article if you are looking for a richer holiday season.

Sometime during the next few weeks before I take off to my Christmas destination, I have planned an evening of peace and calm.  I will be bundling up and strolling through our snowy town one evening when all the stores have shut down. I want to take in the window dressing in the darkness of the evening. Perhaps I’ll stop in someplace for a hot toddy.

What do you plan to do this season that is a little different than what you’ve experienced previously?

For me, it’s  going to be a long Advent season, waiting and anticipating a reunion with our son whom I have not seen in ten months. We will be sharing this season of joy with others whom I have yet to meet before!

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.

A Classic Way of Life

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promoting-empathy-and-a-sense-of-community-4-638People are beginning to understand that wealth is not all about money. Real wealth means having good neighbors, living in a close-knit community, finding jobs whose real value is in the personal fulfillment it brings to us.

There is a new community in Devens, Massachusetts, called Emerson Green, whose goal is for it’s residents to “Come home to a connected, community-focused neighborhood that hearkens back to a simpler era – and looks ahead to a sustainable future, aimed at having it’s residents return to a classic way of life and a tight-knit community.” Something to really write “home” about if you are successful in finding such a place in this transient society.

Union Studios, national award-winning architects and co-developers for the project along with NOW Communities have designed the Emerson Green Project with the “right size” in mind. In other words, sustainable living. It has reused a plot of land  on the outskirts of Boston which used to be a military base. The homes, which have several different floor plan options, are as suitable for first-time home owners, families, professionals and empty-nesters alike.

Once the project is finished and people are well-established in their new community it would be fun to see if Emerson Green has met it’s the objectives of  providing a satisfying way of life which by design encourages social interaction. With our emigrating society, this is something more and more people are looking for because studies point to “social interaction” as a contributor to good health and longer living.

P.S. Having good resources such as an outstanding library helps to build great community. If you visit Union Studios website, take a few minutes to peruse information on the newly completed Tiverton Library project as well as other civic and residential projects the architectural firm has been involved with.

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

Architecture in “Breck”

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Color in certain places has the great value of  making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic.” ~ Antoni Gaudi

That having been said, I’d like to extend the tour today of BreckCreate, a mountain community in Colorado where the arts is alive. Such is life in many towns in this State where creativity is much appreciated.

In the center of historic downtown, the Blue River Restoration Project is very visible. It is right outside the door of the Breckenridge Welcome Center. This article describes the project. Here are a few pictures.

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At the River Walk Project – right outside the Breckenridge Visitors Center.

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You can get the picture from a few of the historical homes that are now retail establishments or restaurants what “Breck” is like. Fun to stroll the streets and take in the structures. Coming from a family of builders, that is what fulfills me when I visit a new place.

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architect4While I was on my day trip to Breckenridge I came across some surprise things that related to books and publishing. Come back tomorrow and I will tell you all about it.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Sue Batton Leonard.

A Window into Breck

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“Art is the window into one’s soul.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

After yesterday’s blog, you baby boomers are probably thinking Breck refers to the old school shampoo we used when we were our teens in the 1960s. Remember using that? I thought if I used it, I’d look just like the “Breck Girl.”

No, for the next few days I will be blogging about a one day road trip I took to Breckenridge, Colorado, often referred to as “Breck.”  I found all kinds of fulfilling things to write about including a creative arts organization called BreckCreate. There is so much to tell, it can not be covered in just one blog posting.

The Breckenridge Arts District is a series of historic buildings located on an acre of land right up the hill from Main Street. It has become  an epicenter of creativity offering art classes, workshops, performance arts, exhibits and special artist-in-residence visits. I’d like to share some pictures with you of the district:

 

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Below: The Barney Ford Museum is also in the arts district. Barney Ford was a local entrepreneur who escaped slavery and became a man of extreme prosperity. For more information.

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A clan of visiting Aztec’s danced a spirit dance historically significant to their culture and the celebration of life the day I visited the town. Read more about the performance.

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indians 4 Art, culture, history and architecture holds a prominent place in the community of Breckenridge, Colorado. The scenic backdrop to the town, as it is in many Colorado communities, is stunning!

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I have more to share with you about BreckCreate.

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

Reaching for Heaven

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“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards, our dwellings shape us.” – Winston Churchill

Building custom homes and places of faith have been projects that my family’s 100+ year old construction company has been involved with through the decades.

This fall in keeping with work of the men in the family who came before him, my youngest brother Scott soared up toward heaven to inspect the steeple at St. Johns Church in Reisterstown, Maryland in order to assess the necessary restoration project of Batton Builders. Interestingly, the church was built in 1816 and then destroyed by fire on Christmas Day and only the steeple and cornerstone of the church survived. The ediface was rebuilt in 1869.  The History of St. John’s Church, Western Run Parish from 1800-2000 by Margaret Worrall details the history of this church.

Since I wrote about the family building business in Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, today on All Things Fulfilling I thought I’d share with our readers these photos of a church restoration Batton Builders has recently been involved with. What a magnificent structure!

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 Thankfully there is no fear of heights in the family.

scottSee you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Community of Blessings

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Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world… It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Last summer I mentioned to my mother and sister the fact that the harvest season does not seem to be as decorated in the West as in the East. “Perhaps that’s because Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the place of the landing of the Pilgrims, is geographically closer, so the season of fall is more celebrated. But, I really don’t know what it is,” I admitted.

On Sunday I arrived at the doors of my church and found it beautifully decorated for the fall season. The blessings of community and sermons of life lessons, relevant to today’s world, are always inside these church doors.

IMG_20151011_084245_836 Reflections last week from the Rev. Tim Selby included the question “And How Are the Children?”  Unfortunately in this day and age with all of the incidents in schools we can’t confidently answer “All are safely gathered in.”IMG_20151011_084455_846

By the end of the sermon each and everyone of us hoped our prayers would be heard as we sang the closing hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

If you wish to hear the words of the message, keep your eye on the church website where recordings of each Sunday’s lessons are always posted.

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