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.

 

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.

Mr. Rockwell’s Narratives

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How will I be remembered? As a technician or artist? As a humorist or a visionary? ~Norman Rockwell

Last week, my television was tuned in more than usual. I was interested in watching the Pope speak at the various different venues. It was such a privilege for the American people to have someone of his stature visit our country.
Did you see the photo op taken at the United Nations in front of the Norman Rockwell image called “Golden Rule?” The U.N. is a very appropriate place to have the image hanging because it could not be more symbolic of America’s melting pot of citizens.  On All Things Fulfilling we featured a blog about Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” back in September 2013. It was a very well read article. Go back and read it if you missed it.

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On Friday, the same day the Pope appeared at the United Nations, I came across an interesting article from the Berkshire Eagle about the Norman Rockwell Museum. Some changes are about to take place in the way that the artist’s work will be exhibited. The images will be thematically organized to better tell the story of America. It’s a terrific idea in my opinion! If ever there was an artist whose work tells a narrative, it is Mr. Rockwell’s!

The last time I visited the Rockwell collection was about 25 years ago when it was housed in an old church in Arlington, Vermont. I enjoyed seeing each of the iconic Americana images, however, the lighting and organization of the paintings did not do it justice. Now there is a beautiful structure in Stockbridge, Massachusetts housing the entire collection with a skilled curator at the helm. If you are ever in the area do not miss it! Check out the information on the museum.

This blog is brought to you by the 2014 EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories, Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Families in Shipping and Commerce

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“Great people have great values and great ethics.” ~ Jeffrey Gitomer

I recently revisited a National Historic site that I remember from my childhood.  It’s just a couple of miles from where I grew up in Towson, Maryland.

Hampton Mansion, tagged as a “Palace in the Wilderness,” at one time equaled half the area of present day Baltimore. The site tells a story of early settlers, the Ridgely family, prominent Marylander’s who were colonial merchants in iron production, shipping and commerce. Ridgely’s iron was said to be “the most profitable exports in the mid-Atlantic colonies.” Read more about this tale of an industrious family who helped fuel a new nation.

The artifacts, beautiful gardens, parterres and vistas, the Georgian mansion, stables and workers quarters for the indentured servants are all evidence of a powerful businessman, who was said to be “genteel” kept “the best table in America” and was “very kind to his servants”. Written entries in journals evidence the care that was taken make Christmas gift lists for all the domestic help of the estate.

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Film Friday: Woman in Gold

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Coming to theatres April 1st! Woman in Gold is film I’ve  put on my Gotta See List. It stars Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren and it is based on a real story of a case that was taken to the Supreme Court. It is about the magnificent painting “Portrait of Adele Boch- Bauer”  by Gustav Klimt. The artwork, hailed as the “Mona Lisa of Austria,” was taken during the Nazi regime and the movie is about a family’s desire to have the painting removed from a museum in Vienna and returned to its rightful place.

Check out this film trailer, and put this on your list of upcoming movies to see if you are a person who loves book to movie adaptations and if you appreciate art history.

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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

 

Mr. Twains Angels

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I have been on the verge of being an angel all my life, but it’s never happened yet. ~ Mark Twain’s Autobiography

twain_bedDid you know Mark Twain slept in his bed backwards? According to an article in Yankee Magazine by Amie Seavey, she says it’s so. It is an unexpected and little known fact of the fabled author’s life.http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/new-england-101/mark-twain-bed

He slept with his pillows at the foot of the bed so he could see the guardian angels that decorated his headboard. The carved angels on the dark walnut bed he and his wife purchased in Venice for $200 ($4600 in todays market), spanned across the headboard and atop each post. He said he liked to sleep in the bed backwards to “see what he had paid for.” The bed was, according to Mr. Twain”the most comfortable bedstead that ever was and enough space in it for a family.”

Clement’s bed, which was left to his daughter Clara was given to the Mark Twain Memorial and Library in 1940. The Hartford, Connecticut museum http://www.marktwainhouse.org has the bed as a showpiece for Twain enthusiasts.

Sweet dreams, Mr. Twain. We will always remember the important contributions you made to this world with your fulfilling words about life.
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This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on the award-winning audio book, paperback or e-book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.http://amzn.to/141aW6S.

Memoirs: Annals of History

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“Memoirs are the backstairs of history.” ~ George Meredith

Last weekend I had lunch with my sister and her husband at the National Gallery of Art Pavilion Café. It was a gorgeous day – sunny and warm. We sat on the patio so we could take in the sculpture garden which surrounded the greenhouse-like structure that held the café.

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From where we sat, the National Archives Museum was also visible. http://www.archives.gov/museum/

Below is a photo of it in the distance.

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Below: One of the bigger-than-life sculptures on the grounds of the Café took me back to my childhood. How long has it been since you have seen one of these? Do you know what it is?

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All sorts of nostalgic thoughts of vintage school supplies were set off by seeing this unexpected sculpture. If you are a baby boomer, you will also remember having to buy these items at the start of the school year:

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white school paste

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vintage fountain pen

 

vintage pencil sharpener

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. We will be visiting the National Portrait Gallery tomorrow. That’s all for now from our nation’s  beautiful Capitol City -Washington, D.C.  Note the work they are doing on the Capitol dome to insure that it will be standing for many more generations!

IMG_20141005_120141_861My award-winning memoir is not in the National Archive Gallery but it is registered with the Library of Congress 2014933053.

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her memoir Gift of  a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected please visit this link http://amzn.to/1vQ6Lob.

 

Weekend of Exploration

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“Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also.” ~ Saint Ambrose

It’s going to be a fun weekend! A chance to do some exploring of things that hold my interest in Washington, DC. I’ll be with my sister and her husband.

national botanicgarden-washingtondc9On our list for Sunday is the National Botanic Gardens and the National Portrait Museum. Two of the few museums in the District of Columbia I have never visited throughout my lifetime. The botanic gardens is a museum quite different than many others in our nation’s Capital. The treasures within the walls are living plants – many of which are not indigenous species to the United States. It gives our citizens an opportunity to see plant life from places all over the world that we may not ever get a chance to travel to. Specimens from the jungle, desert, mountains and plains, both rare and endangered have been assembled and are growing in eco-systems that mirror their natural environments.

Being an art enthusiast , it is surprising that the National Portrait Gallery is also one of the few federal buildings of importance I have never been to in Washington, DC.  After reading the blog www.castlesandcoffeehouses.com called Edith Warton “The Age of Innocence” http://bit.ly/1vzQ927 about a painting in the collection at the National Portrait Museum, I vowed that on my next trip to the East Coast I would visit it. It is a Washington, DC museum I didn’t get to as a child and haven’t yet in my adult years. Well, here I am, ready to enjoy it tomorrow.

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I’m sure I will be taking photos throughout the day to share on a future blog for those  don’t get a chance to travel to the East Coast.

See you on All Things Fulfilling on Monday. Have a great weekend!

This blog brought to you by www.allthingsfulfilling.com and award-winning author of  the anthology Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  http://amzn.to/1vCTf7k. Don’t miss out on the audio version, it holds the treasure and also won 2nd prize in the EVVY book awards!

Fellowship of Artists

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May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

Yes, indeed, Christmas does come in May! Last week I had a beautiful holiday in May when I unpacked my 2nd most treasured possessions (unfortunately it was not my family that I unpacked and moved here).  But, my art that had been in storage for five years. When we moved from Vermont to Colorado we were in living in a place that really was not conducive to hanging artwork. So, except for a few choice pieces, the work remained in their boxes, that I had carefully constructed to store each piece. I learned how to build the custom boxes through observation. I had watched what the master artists from West Wind Fine Art, LLC did when they transported and sold paintings.

On May 1st we moved into a new place that showcases the art magnificently. As I carefully unpacked each and every piece it was as if I was seeing the artwork for the very first time. I had forgotten how beautiful my collection. Over the following days, my husband measured and hung the beautifully framed limited edition prints (and a few originals) to perfection. I have a good eye for placement of design, but the mathematics of getting the artwork hung just right proportional to the spaces without putting a million wrong holes in walls is tricky. Terry, thank you – it’s spot on! You have a much better perspective on that than I and it is a task that overwhelms me.

When I look at my collection, much of it came from West Wind Fine Art, LLC. It brings back wonderful memories of the time I spent working with some of the finest master painters in the world – Timothy R. Thies, Nancy Guzik and Richard Schmid. Their curator and representative, Kristen Thies, creates and orchestrates some of the most outstanding art exhibits in this country. timothy thies painting

Pastel Garden © Timothy R Thies

In 2011 Kristen traveled to the U.K. as an emissary for master artist Richard Schmid when his painting of the Manor home of Sir Walter Scott was unveiled for the Abbotsford House. She had the honor of meeting and hearing the praise about Schmid’s painting ‘from HRH Queen Elizabeth during the grand re-opening of the house and Visitors Center.

To read more about the artists of West Wind Fine Art, LLC please visit www.westwindfineart.com. Don’t miss out on their latest video about their painting expedition to the gardens of  historic Middleton Place in Charleston, S.C. The images in the video will beautify your day, and so will the music. http://bit.ly/1jEyyCm .

Seeing my treasures hanging on the walls of my place of residence once again has been a gift that will bring me great pleasure, years beyond my Christmas in May.

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

Sue’s memoir
 

Meeting Needs, Circuitously

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“I’m conscious of a series of circles working its way through my life.” ~ Ben Okri

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Image above: Artist Nathalie Parenteau

There has been a certain synchronicity lately on All Things Fulfilling around the theme of building things – building stone walls and memorials, building a beautiful home and family, building business through our passions, building meaningful relationships between people and community.

If you read yesterday’s blog called “Riding the Circuit,” there was a bit of self-deprecating humor over searching for answers to what the term “circuit rider” means. Here is a continuation of my story.

As a first time visitor, I opened the red doors to the tiny UnitedMethodistChurch on TaylorsIsland with quiet trepidation, and with much curiosity about what this “circuit rider” my mother spoke of might look like. I imagined someone in the pews would be wearing a cowboy hat, since that is what I had grown accustomed to seeing on Sunday mornings as I entered the UMC in Steamboat, Colorado. From my relatively new Western point of reference, in my mind a circuit rider is a cowboy who rides the rodeo circuit.  

In I entered. I sat in a pew behind a small group of people who turned, smiled warmly and said “Good morning, welcome!” 

“No cowboy hats in this crowd, East coast dress code” I thought. I sat quietly and reverently listening to small town conversation around me. Finally, someone remarked that “the Reverend must be running late.”

“No big deal,” I thought. I was used to people running late, in places where people recreate (in vacation places like shore towns and ski resorts) people have more laid back attitudes, and seem to run on their own time clocks. 

Finally, in the Reverend walked. What I came to find out after the powerful, inspirational sermon he delivered was that the “Rev ” is the “circuit rider” my mother talked about. He goes around fulfilling  the spiritual needs of people at four services, at four different churches on Sunday mornings. That’s why he is called a circuit rider! To read more about this preacher’s life, please visit this article. http://delmarvane.ws/1bqWxTq. This minister has been serving people for almost sixty-six years helping to build one-on-one relationships between people and God, in different communities.

Tomorrow, a shorter blog. I promise! This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.