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.

albuquerque gazebo

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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.

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!

st johns western run

 

St Johns

 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.

Do You Have the Answer?

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When we can’t piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together.” ~ Terri Guillemets

Did you see the images of the two churches posted on yesterday’s blog called Where is this Place? If not, scroll down to view them or follow this link.

Today, I’ll share a few more pictures to help in your quest to solve the puzzle. The images from Edifice #1 are all taken from the exterior surrounds of the structure, except for one. The grounds are beautiful, immaculate and a very peaceful place to visit. Where is it?

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All of the images of Ediface #2 (below) were taken inside the structure. Although the exterior of the building is impressive, more stunning are the interior colors, the icons, the painted ceilings and walls.  The interior is as awesome  as some of the greatest cathedrals of Europe.

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If you know where these two churches are located, hurry and comment on this blog. The first person to correctly identify the names of these places of worship wins a complimentary copy of my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. The answers will be revealed tomorrow morning on All Things Fulfilling.

 

 

Where is this Place?

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All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that place.~ Philip Johnson

Identify both of these places and the city where they are located. Leave your answer by way of comment to this blog. First person to identify accurately these two houses of worship will win a free personalized paperback copy of the award-winning book, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  Family members are excluded from entering!

Hints:

  • They are located in a state west of the Mississippi
  • Each place is distinctively different yet, they are located in the same community, a few blocks away on the same street, making them nearly neighbors!
  • I can hear your brain buzzing with activity trying to figure this out!
  • I visited both of these places last week and thoroughly learning more about each and enjoyed the photography opportunities.

Edifice #1 – I am so grateful for the kind stranger who directed my husband and me to the 10th floor of  a nearby building to capture this incredible shot!

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Edifice #2 (below) – As I entered into this building I couldn’t help but wonder how many people every hour, every day, every month or year pass by this structure having no clue of the magnificence that lies inside the doors. All it takes is one peek to grab one’s attention.

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Aren’t both visually and architecturally stunning? If you joined in on All Things Fulfilling last week, by reading the posting Finding a Good Fit and if you read my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected you’ll understand the reason why I enjoy seeing church buildings. It has to do with my family history!

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. I will post a few more pictures of these two extraordinary places.

 

 

 

Finding a Good Fit

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Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.”
George Carlin

hAPPYNESS IN SOLE

Today on this Thirsty Thursday, one day of the week All Things FuIfilling is dedicated to good news, I’d like to share an architectural wonder that perhaps has greater meaning than what was intended by the firm who created it.

I was drawn to an article about this holy place since the building of churches goes way back to the first generation in the history of my family’s five generation construction business.

There is a house of worship designed and built by the architectural group, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, in Borgloon, Belgium that takes seeing religion from different perspectives to a whole new level.

The good news is that there are many kinds of religions throughout the world. If you live in a truly free society, individuals get to select the religion that best aligns with their own principles and values, or we can opt out of being a believer of any sort.

Images in the article I’ve linked to this website tell the rest of this story. Put your Sunday shoes on, any kind will do, and take a few minutes to enter into this unique church. View the images and you will see what I mean. To learn more about the construction of the structure, visit this website.

That’s all for today! See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. We will be sharing an upcoming educational event that is good news for independent publishers or for people who are thinking of writing their own stories of any type (faith stories, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction or creative writing through the form of poetry, song lyrics or screenwriting).

 

Window into a Composer

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Advent – Day #11   A Window into a Composer

Art has long been associated with churches. As I sat in the Holy Name Catholic Church last Friday listening to the beautiful composition The Messiah from composer George Frederick Handel,  I was reminded of how so much music has lasted through the ages.

In “My Beloved,” chapter 16 in my award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, I  kept the legacy of Frederick N. Crouch alive. This ballad was written in 1837 and the family connection is explained in the chapter.

kathleen mavorneenFor more information on ordering the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard, please go to these links.

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh