Gods, Generals and Irish Ballad

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May the sound of happy music, And the lilt of Irish laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after. ~ Unknown

Happy St. Patty’s Day. Today’s blog is about an Irish ballad called Kathleen Mavourneen. The composer of the song is someone who I hold near and to my heart, even though I am several generations removed from him. I only know him through my father’s side of our family story.

A rendition of  Kathleen Mavourneen was filmed as part of the movie Gods & Generals but unfortunately it got cut in the editing process. The story take place during the Civil War era and it was filmed in many different places in the region where I grew up. Scenery from throughout the mid-Atlantic States of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and at the site of the battle of  Antietam are in the movie. The film is based on the book by Jeffrey Shaara.

If you wish to learn more about my ancestor’s connection to the ballad Kathleen Mavourneen check out Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. You can read all about it in Chapter 16, My Beloved.

Have a great St. Patricks Day, everyone! And remember to go out and ~

make your own luck!

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

 

Military Memoir Ranks Well

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I tell you in my opinion, the cornerstone of democracy is free press – that’s the cornerstone.”  ~ Milos Forman

Lou Prentiss BookToday on All Things Fulfilling, I will be featuring a unique approach to memoir writing that I encountered in Major General Louis W. Prentiss, Jr.’s newly published book Memories of a LIFE IN THE ARMY.

The publication is not a recounting of military valor, accomplishments, coups, medal awards and decorations. Instead, it’s an anthology of charming and humorous short stories or vignettes. The book is very different than most  autobiographical military narratives, which are often very lengthy and not easily readable for civilians.

Before publishing his memoir, Major General Prentiss sent copies of his manuscript to military people who served in the ranks with him. After reading the unpublished manuscript, many of those people contributed further insight into the vignettes through letters back to Prentiss with their memories of shared experiences.

Communications between author and readers usually occurs after a book is released. But because the letters were included in the memoir, the Major General’s vignettes are further enhanced.

5_stars_clipartFive stars for the Major General! So many places this military “lifer” cites – Virginia, Maryland, The Potomac, Chesapeake, Baltimore, Delaware are so familiar to me that it really added to my reading pleasure.

Stories of life abroad will ring familiar with so many military people and families who read this memoir. Most of all, Major General Prentiss is a wonderful story teller who helped me realize why military life gets in one’s blood when a child grows up in such an environment.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Major General Prentiss for his dedication to our country through his lifelong military service. In my opinion, every vet (man and woman) deserves the best because they have given the citizens of the U.S.A. their best to defend and protect our rights. And that includes the freedom to tell stories orally and through writing!

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

The Dream of Freedom

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Every great dreamer begins with a dream. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman
IMG_20141030_135054_661There is a National Monument in Dorchester County, Maryland dedicated to the honor of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The resistance movement was a network of people who helped slaves escape and begin free lives.

Araminta “Minty” Ross, was born into slavery in Dorchester County in 1822 and later became known as Harriet Tubman when she married freeman John Tubman. She became one of the most famous agents of the Underground Railroad who risked her life returning 13 times to rescue family and friends and help them cross the Pennsylvania line to freedom. She intimately knew how to secretly navigate the tidal stream waters and was the first woman to lead an armed U.S. Military assault.

By the time of her death in 1913, she became known as “Moses of her people” for her activism in the women’s suffrage movement, the Underground Railroad, her strong faith and her founding of a home for the elderly and disadvantaged.

In March 2013, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation creating Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Tubman’s story is so rich in American history that the U.S. Department of the Interior has begun constructing a park that is to become a new National Park in the heart of the Chesapeake Country Heritage area.

The Harriet Tubman Freedom Byway takes tourists on a 125 mile driving tour to Tubman’s home and to other landmarks that are significant to the Underground Railroad story.

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There is already the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center at 424 Race Street in Cambridge, Maryland. Visitors can access resources about this American hero who was so active in the decades leading up to the civil war.

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My visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center really peaked my interest in learning more about this tale of a freedom and liberation and the risks of the Underground Railroad. I am going to start with a book suggested to me by a docent at the museum called “Song Not Yet Sung” by James McBride.

Abolitionist Thomas Garrett said of Harriet Tubman “I never met a person of any color who had more confidence in the voice of God, as spoken directly through her soul.”

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For more information, please visit these websites. http://www.nps.gov/hatu, http://www.nps.gov/ugrr and http://www.harriettubman.com. Here are some photos of my visit to the Harriet Tubman Educational Center.

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This museum also has information about other early prominent African American people in fields of law, journalism, medicine, arts, math and science, music, military/government , dance & theatre.

IMG_20141030_133059_040This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her publication “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Democracy, Faith, Freedom and the U.S.A.

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Happy Fourth of July, everybody! Journey with me today through a series of images of our patriotic United States of America where freedom rings, thanks to our armed forces.  All men and women in every branch of our military services deserve the very best we can give them in terms of healthcare and quality of life.  They sacrifice so much to protect and defend  The Constitution for the benefit of all of us, and for future generations of  Americans.

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I can’t get enough of All Things Americana~

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

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

Wrapped in a Blanket and a Movie

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I just want others to understand that it is within their power to take a dream from inside their hearts and begin making it their life’s work. ~  John Mitchell

Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, and the Hallmark Channel has already begun broadcasting Christmas movies. Last Sunday I decided that after church and after my daily walk that I was going to take the afternoon of the Sabbath seriously – no writing, no reading, no cleaning of the house. I was going to sit and enjoy a sappy Christmas movie that had attracted my attention as I channel surfed.

As I sat, wrapped in a blanket with popcorn and hot chocolate in hand, I began to think how this movie was no different than any of the other Christmas movies I have seen in my lifetime. But I still never get tired of watching sappy holiday films. The issues in the plots of holiday movies are nearly always the same – about a broken family, unrequited love, a romance gone wrong or the struggles of a lonely heart club member. The ending of the story is always fulfilling –  tied up with an uplifting message.  Sweet Christmas movies remind me to believe in the goodness of humanity and to always look for it inside people.

The Christmas CardThe Christmas Card is one holiday movie I have not yet seen, and it is upcoming on the “Heart of TV” – The Hallmark Channel. Here is the link to the programming schedule for Christmas movies you can watch right from the comfort of your living room. http://bit.ly/1atIndj.

You must be thinking I am off my rocker with all this talk of Christmas already. Well, here in the northwest corner of Colorado, we have already had about 50 inches of snow this season. The weather broadcasters are saying it is “the earliest winter ever.” To me, as I look my window on this first week of November, it may as well be Christmas. The earth is wrapped in a blanket of sparkly white already.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Do return tomorrow on Monday. I look forward to sharing some inspiring images and stories with  you  next week. Some will lead you into knowing a little more about my own personal narrative.

Stone Preservation

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“We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them or build with them.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Beautiful stone creations with historical value – things to preserve rather than destroy. Building with stone goes back centuries. Along with our culture’s growing passion for geneology, there has been an increasing interest in the art of preserving stone monuments and markers in America. Even the finest historical markers and structures made of rock, like cathedrals, churches, castles, bridges and roads need attention because their integrity becomes compromised due to land development, weather, neglect, acid rain and vandalism.

Jonathan Appel, is a stone conservator who has been working in graveyards to preserve monuments and markers in Civil War areas, such as in Frederick, Maryland. http://bit.ly/18ApKGI. Finding fulfillment in preserving our country’s history on holy grounds, he trains others to become monument conservators through workshops.

Last weeks blog about the building of rock sculptures for a unique, personal reason left me feeling uplifted, because one man’s efforts became an community building event. stone_sculptor_at_workOut of all the statues, obelisks, monoliths, pillars and plaques that have been created to memorialize the spirit of beings, all over the world,  I hope an overwhelming number of them have been placed to remember positive spirits who have existed on earth.

If you did not read the blog or watch the video about community efforts to support a grieving man and his art, visit this link. It’s an interesting story. Let me know what you think. http://bit.ly/145b3xc

Please return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow for more independent thoughts, words and views from www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com . Our blog tomorrow is about a special angel and how that angel has inspired a blog that I believe deserves special mention for it’s beauty.

America through Images

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I think at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 Happy Birthday, America!

Today’s blog is all about independence, patriotism, and all things fulfilling and nostalgic through American art posters.

Each of these works of art have been created by independent artists and can be purchased, and shipped world-wide through e-commerce (through the web or on-line). Please go to www.AllPosters.com .

As you take a tour, remember those who have fought to defend our country’s liberties, this day and every day. Enjoy the American story, told through images.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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charles-coiner-give-it-your-bestThis blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. A company specializing in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers.

Do return tomorrow to www.allthingsfulfilling.com .

America’s Oldest 4th of July Celebration

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He who loves not his country, can love nothing. ~ Lord Byron

Bristol, Rhode Island, the home of Roger Williams University http://rwu.edu/,  is a place that can claim the title of the city with The Oldest 4th of July Celebration. The town celebrates Independence Day in grand style and it is very special. This year, its residents will beat the drum to the 228th annual event. A patriotic parade, music concerts, an interfaith service, and a 4th of July Ball  are only a few things on the docket. The town will be decked out in its red, white and blue regalia – flags, banners, buntings and posters adorn the buildings. All things fulfilling about our country’s freedom and independence will be evident, including an abundance of food and drink that we have in America.

In the most recent issue of Yankee Magazine, an article about Bristol’s 4th of July celebration was featured. Pick up a copy of the magazine at your neighborhood newsstand. You can also read about the scheduled events on the official website, by following this link. http://www.july4thbristolri.com/.

Happy Independence Day, everybody and don’t miss the photographs below of Americana at its finest. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. A company specializing in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers.

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Defending a Story

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The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Today, on All Things Fulfilling, I’ll report my findings as a casual observer of a book club group from Dorchester County, Maryland.The New York the postmistressTimes bestselling book “The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake was discussed the day of the meeting.

In my experience, there are common things readers want to discuss about a book after reading it. The types of critique questions and discourse this East Coast book club had was not so different than any other groups I have witnessed. But, it was evident that each reader had a slightly different point of view about the story, which is why books are worth discussing. Here are some of  the ideas the members talked about:

Did the readers relate to the era of this story? Yes. Most in the book group lived through the times this story was set – World War II era.

Were the characters believable? The postmistress character, one reader said “was too ‘rigid’ to be realistic.” Others disagreed saying it was, “part of the  job.”

Did the author do a good job with character development? Some said yes. Others, no.

Was the storyline effective in evoking memories for the reader? In the case of this book, the answer was an overwhelming Yes!”

Did the readers like the ending? One “bookie” said admittedly, “it is the author’s prerogative to end the story however they see fit. But, she did not like it.”

Other points made in the discussion:
• More than one reader in the group said they “enjoyed her familiarity of the setting (small town Cape Cod),” but they were not fond of reading about war, they had already lived it vicariously through the stories of their fathers, brothers, friends and uncles.
• Another reader stated the meaning behind the narrative was much bigger than the immediate story. The book made a strong statement that “Life goes on despite war.” Note: I have found that universal lessons that go beyond the immediate story, are what makes for a very marketable book.
• One reader said “none of the stories within the book were finished.” Others defended the fact that the book left “things for the reader to figure out, in their own minds, and they like that in books.”
• The consensus seemed to be that a post office in a small town is still the center of community.

As I sat listening to the women’s discussion, I formed my own opinions about the ladies in the book group. Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow as I share my general observances of the “bookies.”

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

The Viewpoint of a Famed Writer

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The past actually happened. History is what someone took the time to write down.” ~ A. Whitney Brown

The town that fooled the British” is a tagline that St Michaels Maryland http://bit.ly/140ExHA earned during the War of 1812. As I entered through the gates of the Inn at Perry Cabin and came upon the rose gardens with a fabulous garden conservatory, my exact thoughts were “I do, indeed, feel as if I am in England.”

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 Above: Garden Conservatory on Grounds of Inn at Perry Cabin http://bit.ly/17JGjCc

Below: Entrance to Inn at Perry Cabin

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St. Michaels, named after the patron saint of mariners, is filled with seafaring history. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a popular attraction for tourists, and locals alike, who want to learn about the legacy of the town and share its place in history with children.

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Above: Building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum http://bit.ly/11bNJu2

Below: More sites on the grounds of the Museum

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A trading post for trappers and tobacco farmers back in the mid-sixteenth century, today St. Michaels offers great recreational opportunity on the waters of the Miles River and Broad Creek, just some of the fabled places on the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay that author James Michener wrote about.http://bit.ly/140G54n.

A well-preserved vintage port, my exploration of “St. Mike’s” was fun, educational and inspirational as I took in the museum, shops, art galleries and other sites in heart of Chesapeake Bay country. Join me as I share my journey from St. Michaels to nearby Tilghman’s Island through photographs.

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Above: Entrance to Marina at St Michaels

Below: How to Read the Weather from A Stone

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Below: The very charming “Parsonage Inn” (circa 1883) http://www.parsonage-inn.com/

Love the turret uniquely placed in the center, at the heart of the structure, rather than on the corner as so  many typically  are.

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Gallery Window

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Photo above: Loved the name of this boat “Once Upon a Time.”

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Bridge Restaurant at the Bridge onto Tilghman’s Island

To read more about the history of this region of Maryland, things to see and do, and to see more pictures, follow the links I have provided throughout this article. Thanks for visiting this site. Come back tomorrow!

This blog brought to you by www.allthingsfulfilling.com and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. A company specializing in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers.