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.

Hanging onto Childhood Memories

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Nature is the art of God ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Jan, stop!” I yelled out to my twin sister as she pedaled ahead of me on her bike.

“What for?” she yelled back to me loudly.

“I just saw something in the woods, and I want to go back. I’m wondering what it is.”

The other day my sister and I were on the way back to my parent’s house from a bike ride. We had gone to collect some pears that we had spied the day before, from the car, on a tree in a vacant lot next door to the United Methodist Church on Taylors Island, Maryland.

“What was it you saw? An animal? ” Jan asked. The remote island of Taylors Island is well-known for it’s variety of shore birds, white-tailed and sika deer, wild turkeys and bald eagles. Dorchester County Maryland  is also notable for it’s abundance of fish, crabs and oysters.http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/waters/

“I don’t know but it  was a cluster of  something pure white on the ground. That’s why I want to go back.”

“Ok, you lead the way.” Jan said. We turned our bikes around and headed back to the spot where I had seen the curiosity.

“It’s there. Through the woods, “ I said pointing. “ we’ll have to cross the ditch and hike in to it.”

We parked our bikes, which had baskets attached to them, laden with the wild pears. We had picked only fruit that had fallen from the tree because the pears hanging from the branches were too green and too far from ripening.

When I initially saw the objects of interest, I had gone through a list of things in my mind of what  I thought they could be. “Perhaps some trash, the tails of a herd of deer , who knows what. ” I thought. As we neared the white patches I had seen through the trees on the ground in the distance, I saw that they were round and nearly a foot in diameter.

“Look at that! They are  huge mushrooms.” I said, completely surprised by my findings.

“Wow! I sure wish I could show them to Rob!” Jan said. “But I don’t have my camera.” I knew Jan’s husband who has been a chef in our nation’s capital’s finest restaurants would be interested.

“Let’s pick a couple and show him,” I said. After I extracted their roots from underneath the bed of pine needles, I felt a little guilty. “Is it a crime to pick mushrooms or pears from the wild?” I asked my sister.

“Too late to think of that now,” Jan said, beginning to place the mushrooms in the bike basket.”Let’s put my jacket between the pears and the mushrooms in the bike basket in case they are poisonous.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “We shouldn’t let the pears and mushrooms touch.”

When we got back to the house we showed our unexpected treasures to our family members, and my brother-in-law looked up the mushrooms on the internet. “They’re edible!” Rob exclaimed.

“Sorry, I am not eating them.” I said, “I value my life too much. We could be wrong. Eating mushrooms from the wild is not a good idea unless you know for sure they are not poisonous.”

“I’ll stick to the pears,” Jan said. “I am not taking any chances.”

That night as I fell off to sleep I thought about our events of the day and what Tom Stoppard once said ““If you carry your childhood with you, you never grow older.” Riding bikes and exploring nature took me back to the days of my youth when my sister and I used to play in the woods and throw stones in streams and find all kinds of fulfilling things in nature to keep us busy.

Images of a few unexpected finds on our bike ride. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wild pears. They are delicious!

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Great-blue-heron

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That’s all for today!

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

Harvest Full of Blessings

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“All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreath’d with nodding corn.” ~Robert Burns, poet

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“Dad… Mom… I’m home!” I yelled out, when I arrived at my parents place in Maryland along the trail of my East Coast book tour. “Let’s party!”

I hadn’t seen my parents since the publishing of my memoir back in March, and I was promised that once I got home, there’d be a celebration and reunion.

What a splendid time it was on the shores of the Chesapeake. Couldn’t have asked for more stellar weather  to celebrate being with my family, my hard work and the real star of the story, Fanny!

This day there is no need for too many words.The pictures will tell the tale of a few fun filled  days with remembering the best things about all being together under one roof. Unfortunately, not everyone was present due to work and college obligations. Some missed the party, and I would have loved to have spent the day with them also. But, I can’t help but reflect on the harvest of blessings I have in my life. Here are some of them:

Photo Below: Always the “bestest hostess” ever , my Mom! I swear the woman has hosted more family gatherings in her 85 yrs of life  than any person on the planet! IMG_20141025_103816_849

Two photos below: A beautiful fall day on the Chesapeake! Couldn’t have asked for much better!IMG_20141025_103556_906

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Above: My contribution to the party – I baked a pineapple-upside-down gingerbread cake and easy, flavorful pulled chicken sandwiches.(Thanks to http://www.mccormick.com/. A Maryland company!)  The cake was also yummy and definitely a do-over recipe. Will make again!

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Above: Me with my twin sister’s family – her two daughters and their partners. The guy and gal on each end of the picture are husband and wife architects – the Babcocks!

Below: Two great women in the kitchen – my mom and my niece Devon! She is usually at  http://www.milarepacenter.org/index.html, in their kitchen, cooking up nutritious food for one and all.

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IMG_20141025_134147_528Above: What’s a family get together without a few games? My brother-in-law, the REAL chef of the family setting up for a good wholesome Corn Hole Competition! My brother Scott and I were a champion team. We beat the pants off my twin sister and her team mate, Jay. (She’ll say I am exaggerating).

Below: The day was spiced with more family, food and discussion.

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Photo below: The patriarch and matriarch at the far end of the table – surrounded by  family (grandchildren, in-laws & significant others)

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Below photo: What’s a BBQ without ribs? My two brothers are digging into food instead of digging foundations. Thanks Scott, the ribs were melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and messy too!IMG_20141025_143533_873

Below: Jan looks like she is practicin’ to sing in the choir. Glad to see you are holding your hands like the Trapp Family singers always did in the “Sound of Music.”

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The end of a fabulous day on the Chesapeake Bay.
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I’m never at a loss for subject matters to continue a story with this family of mine that keeps on building and getting larger!

For some of us who can’t always get home for the holidays – we decided this was an early Thanksgiving! Tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling, I will show just a few more fruits of God’s creation that my sister and I discovered when we went biking and exploring in the woods together. It was just like old times.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard and her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.  More information will be coming later on in the week about a nationally broadcast book reading that I will be participating in soon. Thanks to blog radio! https://richerlifellc.com/Harvest_Book_Reading_2.html.

Home Grown Success

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Since new developments are products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.” ~ George Washington Carver

All the focus today will be on someone that I ran into two weeks ago in the halls of the National Portrait Gallery. I looked across the room at one of the paintings and thought “Who is that fella?” With my gardening interests, of course, I was drawn into this picture.

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It’s George Washington Carver! A person in history that I knew very little about. Over the past few days I’ve learned more about this man of great importance whose picture hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. As it turns out, there are many words of wisdom that this man born into slavery shared through the course of his lifetime – inspiring, indeed!

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untitledGeorge Washington Carver (1864- 1943) was a man of many interests – an American scientist, inventor, botanist and educator. He certainly had much worthwhile to say about creativity, innovation and success from his humble beginnings to his rise as a person of great national recognition, known as the “plant doctor.”

There are many books about the man whose fame grew throughout his lifetime from an orphan son of slaves to a world famous peanut farmer. George Washington Carver: An Innovative Life  by Elizabeth Macleod follows his contributions to our society through his breakthrough in agricultural research. His words of inspiration are many, and should not be forgotten.

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That’s all for today from award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. I’m happily living an innovative life in this new world of e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers. For information on my EVVY award-winning memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” please visit this link http://amzn.to/1xTvPwQ. For a special treat, listen to the audio book because the “treasure is in the voice!”

It won a 2nd place award for audio books from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association! And it is a finalist in two categories in the 2014 Harvest Book Competition.http://bit.ly/1vbWwfb.

Focus on Simple Pleasures

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There are few things in common between where I grew up, in Towson, Maryland and where I am residing at this moment, Steamboat Springs, Colorado except great peaches and sweet corn.

It is an unexpected gift when you live high up in the magnificent Rocky Mountains to find corn and peaches as good as what’s grown in Maryland.  The produce comes in  from Palisades, Colorado every weekend on a truck.

We are getting into the fresh from the farm season! So, although, I am living many, many miles away from all of our family – today I would like post a reminder to myself.

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And as gift for my readers on this sunny summer day – here is something you can make that is useful, healthy and delicious.It comes from http://www.OasisAdvancedWellness.com. Visit their website, there’s other fulfilling things they’ve posted for the visitors of their space on the internet.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling! This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. NOW AVAILABLE IN AUDIO BOOK, TOO! http://amzn.to/1rDx80a.

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An Author to Watch

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You write in order to change the world … if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” ~ James Baldwin 

I’ve been so busy I haven’t picked up a book other than my own to proofread it for the zillionth time in several weeks. Not having time to read drives me crazy – walking and reading are my most treasured personal freedoms. It’s how I relax and escape.

library hospital for themind. jpgOn Friday I decided I REALLY needed an outlet aside from what I am doing. I caved and went to the library. I found a real honey of a story by debut novelist Natalie Baszile called “Queen Sugar.”http://bit.ly/1nAv4B9. Oh my, how I have enjoyed it. It has not disappointed. Author Tayari Jones describes the book as “a page turning, heart breaking novel of the new South, where the past is never truly past, but the future is a hot, bright promise.” Put this book, published by Penguin, on your To Read List. In my opinion, the author has interwoven important societal messages and cultural values into a well-crafted story.  Natalie Baszile, I’m keeping my eye on you. You are a great writer!

Now it’s back to work. There is so much a head of me to look forward to.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

Treasuring Art

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 “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”   ~ Chinese proverb 

At a thrift store recently I came across an art print of Thomas Moran – imagine my delight! It seemed like a God thing – the image was just sitting there waiting for someone who’d appreciate it to pick it up . I gave in to my desires and purchased it – a real deal. I am very grateful to have the Moran art print hanging on my wall. He was one of the greatest illustrator and colorists of all times.

Every evening the week before last, I had been watching Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  http://bit.ly/182xh1NMoran’s name was mentioned as one of the top landscape painters of the 19th century who ventured west. I learned he traveled to YellowstoneNational Park from the Hudson RiverSchool in New York, in the summer of 1871, to document on canvas what others described as a place where “hell bubbled up.”

Many artists traveled westward in the early days of the founding of the U.S. National Parks and they continue to be favorite places for artists who are seeking inspiration. Artists still go to paint, photograph and write about the dramatic landscapes in these protected government lands which are far more unique than many other places across the United States. Ralph Waldo Emerson described the National Parks as places where “God is more easily found in nature than in the works of man.” 

Lots of people find personal fulfillment in poking around in thrift shops. You never know what treasures you might find. I scored!

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

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!