A Pioneer in a Field

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Shoot for the Moon

Quote by: Norman Vincent Peale

Have you read the debut novel by Amy Brill, The Movement of Stars? I just finished it and enjoyed a book club discussion of the publication with a group of United Methodist women.

Knowing so little about astronomy, when I first began reading Brill’s novel I was concerned that I may not be able to get through the astronomical details. How wrong I was. I became quickly involved in the relationship of the two main characters whose lives intersected. They seemed to have a deep understanding of one another due to parallel themes that ran throughout their lives. Both were strangers in a strange land, each deemed by their culture to be a people who should be denied to dream and excel.

As I became involved in the narrative, I  could see how necessary the astronomical details were to the heart of the story. Brill’s writing about the planetary world was written as tightly as possible to convey the story of a well-rendered fictional personality based on a real life person, Maria Mitchell. She was a pioneer in her field, the first professional woman astronomer.

I felt the author did an admirable job of crafting an historical novel and I would argue with some reviewers who said “the central character was too staid.” After all, she was a Quaker who the author aptly portrayed with the values of her culture.

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This blog is brought to you by the author of the EVVY award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

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Architecture in “Breck”

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Color in certain places has the great value of  making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic.” ~ Antoni Gaudi

That having been said, I’d like to extend the tour today of BreckCreate, a mountain community in Colorado where the arts is alive. Such is life in many towns in this State where creativity is much appreciated.

In the center of historic downtown, the Blue River Restoration Project is very visible. It is right outside the door of the Breckenridge Welcome Center. This article describes the project. Here are a few pictures.

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At the River Walk Project – right outside the Breckenridge Visitors Center.

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You can get the picture from a few of the historical homes that are now retail establishments or restaurants what “Breck” is like. Fun to stroll the streets and take in the structures. Coming from a family of builders, that is what fulfills me when I visit a new place.

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architect4While I was on my day trip to Breckenridge I came across some surprise things that related to books and publishing. Come back tomorrow and I will tell you all about it.

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

Cultivating Interests

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The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it.

Sitting and reading a book of history has never been my cup of tea. But visiting the space where history took place is a different story. It brings an historical era alive.

This summer I revisited a place that I never tire of -Ladew Gardens in “hunt country” of Monkton, Maryland. Home to the first American to create garden rooms, Henry S. Ladew,( 1887 – 1976) his creative garden spirit is still alive. To read more about the life of Henry S Ladew and his stunning gardens, see this publication.

Beautiful topiaries, strategically-placed antique garden hardscape,beautiful ponds and fountains make the place a real sanctuary for gardeners and non-gardeners alike who have a fine appreciation of beautiful spaces in nature. New to the property since my last visit is a butterfly pavilion which is manned by volunteers who explain the process from caterpillar to  chrysalis to hatching of butterflies and their purpose in nature. To read more about this natural phenomenon, visit this article.

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The Garden Cafe, Ladew’s residence, art studio and library are open to the public. The spaces are where educational, scientific and cultural pursuits flourish for the public benefit. On Sept 27th at 10pm CNN will feature a story about these historic gardens on Mike Rowe’s show called “Dirty Jobs.”IMG_20150908_114020_578

As a garden enthusiast, my visit to Ladew was as fulfilling as the first time I walked the 22 acres of grounds.

IMG_20150908_113427_260This blog is brought to you by the EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Edibles

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A weed is a plant whose virtue is not yet known.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wandered the woods wondering which plants have been used for hundreds of years for their medicinal qualities? And which plants are edible?

Herbalists Karen Vail and Mary O’Brien have taken years to research and write their new resource guide Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Southern Rockies. Photos were taken by the authors from the fields, forests and mountains. Much effort has gone into the project. I know because I’ve consulted with them.

Now it’s time to bring their book to fruition by publishing it. These two ladies know their stuff and have conducted hiking tours for many years all for the sake of educating others about the healing qualities of herbs and flowers, some of our greatest natural resources found in nature.

Learn more about this very useful guide and the professional and educational qualifications of the herbalists. They offer their combined knowledge of 50 years in this publication. Take a few minutes to listen to the authors talk about what’s between the covers!

Please join me in supporting their efforts.

P.S. I can guarantee you will also see some beautiful landscapes in the video.

A Real Peach of a Community

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We can never get a re-creation of community and heal our society without giving our citizens a sense of belonging.Patch Adams

What makes a great community? As an outsider, I’ve noticed things the 2014 Winner of the Coolest Small Town in America, Berlin, Maryland has in common with Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the town I’ve called home for the past seven years.These elements are what, in my opinion, helps a community to thrive.

  • Cohesion between a strong Main Street Association and the local Council on the Arts
  • People who are forward-thinkers, not afraid of change but respect the past.
  • A strong volunteer base who want to contribute to building a town that others will envy.
  • Leaders who understand the history behind the community and what makes it unique.

Berlin, Maryland “Historically Charming & Artistically Alive & Eternally Young” has been the location site of two movies, which no doubt has helped bring notariety to the community. Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was filmed there in 1998 and contributed 27.5 million dollars to the local economy. In 2001 Berlin was transformed into a town at the turn of the century with dirt roads, period costumes and horses and carriages for the film Tuck Everlasting. Actors Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley and William Hurt starred in the fictional film.

Movie producers as well as the audiences were captivated by the Victorian town center, the tree-lined streets and historic homes and museums in this small town in “Chesapeake Country.”

Want to know more about what makes a great community? Read this article,  and visit the Berlin, Maryland website. Also scroll back to the two previous day’s blogs to see more pictures. Every business in Berlin is worthy of mention on All Things Fulfilling. Due to lack of space, only a small number are featured. Each makes this community a fulfilling destination that reminds us of what it was like to live in charming small town America.

If you are a baby boomer, you’ll appreciate the lyrics of this 1972 song which you’ll probably remember from the crossroads of your life. Listen in as you scroll through these images!

 

Berlin Peach grocery signed

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storefront signed

Berlin house with fan window signed

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Atlantic hotel dining room signed

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Street &Trees in Berlin signed

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 Thanks to my twin sister Jan for the photo contributions to this blog. It was wonderful to have an early celebration of our birthday by painting the town together.

Yarn shop looking out Jans signed

 

Yarn shop 3 inside Jan signed

 

 

Globe Theatre signed

Join me tomorrow as I celebrate a special segment of local artists in the place I’ve resided for the past seven years. They make up in part what is unique about the town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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

Salt of the Earth People

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Take note of all the good and beautiful. It is there. Sometimes in the smallest crevices and sometimes boldly standing there.” ~ Lisa Desatnik  http://www.GoodThingsGoingAround.com.

Last week my husband and I were granted what I considered to be a great priviledge. We were given permission to look in on the daily operations of a business that reaps the beauteous bounty of the sea. Nothing goes to waste from the harvest. What does not get processed to feed people, goes toward’s growing crops. The crustacean shells are used for fertilizer.

Lindy’s Seafood, a Mary Ellen Brand, in Woolford, Maryland allowed us to see their business first hand and take photos and video. What an eye-opening and educational experience. We arrived in the wee hours of the morning because the work day takes place from 1am to 9 am on Hooper’s Island a remote place on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake.

Grace, the plant supervisor, described to me what this line of very tedious work means to her 36 crab pickers, who come to the U.S.A. to find a job to support their families in Mexico. Typically women are crab pickers but for the first time ever, this harvest season, there were approximately four or five men among the workers at Lindy’s.

It was evident from my observations, these employees mean business! Picking crabs is treated like an art and the craft is taught to the younger generation when they bring their family members into the fold of working in the seafood industry. Crab picking is very tedious and detail-oriented labor and not for everyone. Grace mentioned the Mexican’s wonderful work ethic and the fact that they are as reliable as the change of seasons. She said they WILL NOT go home until the catch of the day is processed and will work as many hours as need be. She said she nearly has to herd them out the door to take a lunch break, which comes at 6:oo in the morning! They don’t want to stop what they are doing. From I what I gathered from our conversation, finding that kind of dedication and attention to detail from American workers is very difficult.

As they labored, not a word was uttered but Spanish music played in the background, and the fast paced rhythm kept their hands briskly moving.

From my observation, economy of movement in the workers and efficiency of the operation allows the plant to process many bushel baskets of seafood daily. It was a very fulfilling morning observing this group of people who depend on the fruit of the sea for their fulfilling livelihood.

More photos:

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My husband and I would like to personally thank Terry Vincent, President of Lindy’s Seafood and his sidekick, his daughter Aubrey for allowing us to see the business operations first hand. And thank you to Grace for providing us with answers to our questions.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her books Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart and Soul.

 

Appetite for Metal Art?

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The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle (384-322 BC)

“Mares eat oats and goats eat oats” … and everything around them. I can’t remember the exact lyrics of the song my sister, brothers and I sang in our childhood but it went something like that.

When I saw these billy goat lawn sculptures at Art in the Park, they caught my attention. They’re reminiscent of Hanratty, one of the childhood pets in our family’s menagerie.

A very creative artist took the lyrics to the song literally and created these metal sculptures from found items. The guts of the animal reflects exactly what goats are known for “trash eating.” Garden tools, tin cans, children’s metal toys, hubcabs and more are incorporated into these fun to look at garden ornaments.

I laughed when I saw them. A short time later when I returned to the display to show my husband, several had been sold. A good indication that others appreciated the humor and ideas of the artist in designing this craft.

Do you have treasure in your basement or attic that you could reuse to make something special? Even if it it’s just for yourself you can have fun creating. Art is therapeutic and a good way to cure whatever is ailing inside of you.

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision. ~ James McNeill Whistler

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.