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!

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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

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

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 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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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.

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.

 

 

The Gift of Time

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Thank God for his priceless gifts and miracles around the world. ~ Unknown

“Good morning, Sunshine!” I said to myself as we began down a long cornfield-lined road, with sun rays gleaming on the dried golden stalks. It was a gorgeous morning on the Chesapeake. My parents and I were headed to a landmark that harkened to us from Route 213 in Kent County, Maryland.

As we drove up to the Shrewsbury Parish Church I said, “I feel as if I could be in England. This place looks like something from a British show on PBS.” All the while, I was thinking of the Vicar of Dibley, a program that I loved that is now longer broadcast.

We walked the grounds, peaked in the windows, read ages old headstones and just enjoyed being together as parents and adult child taking in the wonders of the season and the beautiful surroundings. Before we left the grounds, the Rector Rev. Henry M. Sabetti stopped and we chatted. We talked about my new memoir and I gave him a bookmark of  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Today, I’d like to share images with our readers. If you are interested in reading more about this historic church on the Eastern shores of Chesapeake Bay country, please visit this website.http://www.shrewsburyparish.org/Shrewsbury_Parish/About_Us.html.

It’s been wonderful spending time with my family while being on my East Coast book tour. That morning was just one of many treasured early lights of day that I have spent with my parents. Now I head back to the wild, wild west!

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IMG_20141028_114420_973The two gravestones above must be for all the mothers and fathers who are in this final resting place in the churchyard of Shrewsbury Parish.

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Wandering Early Places of Worship

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“Ghosts wandering here and there troop home to churchyards.” ~ William Shakespeare

Today, as promised, I’d like to share more about my fulfilling travels to  St Paul’s Kent in Rockhall, Maryland. If you are ever in the area, do stop by and visit this historic Anglican Church. It was organized in 1692 after William and Mary ruled England.  The historical facts about the church are many but, here is a brief synopsis about the structures in the 19 acre churchyard.

  • The first building was 40 X 24 ft – erected by Daniel Norris (1695 – 1696)
  • The present church was constructed in 1713 at the cost of 70,000 lbs of tobacco
  • 34 pews were contained in the original structure
  • It is only one of four 18th Century churches to have a semicircular apse
  • Church walls feature Flemish bond brickwork
  • Semicircular arches are above doors and windows
  • Church remodeled in 1940 with an addition adding 23 new pews
  • The stained glass window in the chancel cost $250 back in 1864
  • The church bell was installed also in 1864 for $10
  • The Marble baptismal font was a gift by the congregation to the church in 1863
  • The Parish House, offices and classrooms were added in the later part of the 20th Century.
  • Actress Tallulah Bankhead is buried in the churchyard at St Paul’s Kent.

Although our country is relatively new compared to European history, getting out and exploring historic churches and museums in Maryland is a fascinating way to spend a beautiful fall day. Not too far from St Pauls, Kent is the African-American Schoolhouse Museum.http://bit.ly/1tFqu9R. Since I was headed north to another historic church called Shrewsbury Parish, I’ve saved that museum until I return next time to the Eastern shore of Maryland.

I hope you enjoy these images of the historic landmark church St Paul’s Kent. It is a beautiful and holy place for reflection and meditation!

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Below Photos: Another structure in the churchyard – Circa 1766 according to bricks on the side of the building. This building was inaccessible but peaking through the windows there were identical fireplaces on each side of the interior of the structure. The photo of the fireplace was taken through old windowpane.

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IMG_20141028_151351_247Happy Halloween, everybody. On Monday I will making revelations about my mother and our stop at Shrewsbury Parish – off at the beaten path of the Eastern shore of Maryland.

This blog is brought to you by http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com.For information on Sue Batton Leonard’s EVVY award-winning memoir, please visit this link http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

 

 

Acorns in Rock Hall

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“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” ― Joe L. Wheeler

It’s crazy! Yesterday morning I was awake at 4am thinking of my travels of the day before. I had visited with my parents a church of historical importance in Rock Hall, Maryland. St Paul’s Kent http://www.stpaulkent.org was established in 1692 and probably the earliest surviving Anglican Church on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The church is set among 19 acres of huge trees which dwarf the edifice itself. There, among the rotted leaves of fall, I came across something that set off a whole plethora of unrelated nostalgic images. I began to think of things I hadn’t thought about for decades.

IMG_20141028_150153_927Thousands and thousands of acorns lay on the ground among crisp, rustling brown oak leaves that had fallen from the trees. The smell of autumn was so earthy and pungent that it was like sensory overload from my past. As children, my sister and my two brothers and I spent hours every fall cavorting and frolicing in piles of leaves in pure unadulterated bliss!

“Look, Mom,” I shouted out, with the delight of a 10 year old little girl. Remember how we used to collect acorns and pretend they were Brownies (aka young Girl Scouts)?

“I sure do!” my mom said. Even at 85 her memory is rather good. Besides she was an assistant trooper leader, so I had little doubt she would have forgotten.

“Remember how sometimes we used acorns for craft projects? We painted girl’s faces on the nut  and the top of the acorn,  looks like a Brownie’s cap.” I said to my mother.

“Yep! You girls sure had fun doing that,” said my mom, bending down to pick up a handful of acorns laying at her feet.

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Now, here comes the big question – How did I get from the image of an acorn looking like a “Brownie” with a round face and cap to the memory of making fried marble jewelry this morning?  That is where my mind  traveled next. Egads – my brain must be all scrambled up! I hope I don’t make fried marble jewelry for breakfast. Funny how our mind goes with no logical reason.

Today I’ll share images of the lovely churchyard at St Paul’s Parish, Kent in Rock Hall, Maryland.

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Note:  Many gravestones date back to the late 1600s. Sea captains and other well-known people including Tallulah Bankhead are buried in this 19 acre churchyard.

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Do return tomorrow I will be sharing images of the structures that were built some 300 years ago with Flemish bond brickwork.

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