A New Musical: Allegiance

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Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved and differences resolved. ~ Bernard Beckett

allegianceHave you heard about the  American story now being played out on Broadway? Allegiance is a real and important tale of the Kimura family who came to America after World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Similar tales of family bonds, duty and defiance, hope, loyalty and the power of the human spirit could be told by 120,000 other Japanese-American families who fled their country in search of a new tomorrow in the United States of America.

George Takei and Tony® winner Lea Salonga star in this live theatre production. To read more about this live musical production, visit the website.

See 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 and Lessons of Heart & Soul.

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.

 

Story Woven with Nostalgic Images

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Where were you during the Vietnam Era?

I just read the newly-released book Cottonwood; a satisfying read on many levels. Author Tom Dawson effectively crafts a story of two men who served together during one of our country’s most painful periods, the Vietnam era. The ties that bind them are their war experiences; they become life long buddies.

The author intertwines the culture of the ‘Nam era” into the storyline, which filled me with nostalgic images of my own, as a person whose adolescence came during the late nineteen sixties and seventies.  I could also relate, on a certain level, to some of the frustrations and attitudes that the main characters, Tom and Sam, carry about today’s technological era.

As a woman, I appreciated how through good dialogue, the author showed that the two comrades, Tom and Sam, communicate differently. The  truthfulness with which Dawson writes about the issue of men and aging was refreshing and honest. It is a story I didn’t anticipate liking but I really look forward to reading more from this author.

Dawson’s book is available through Amazon in soft cover and also as an e-book edition. To order this publication, please follow this link.Cottonwood

To read more about Tom Dawson, the author and war correspondent, follow this link. http://bit.ly/Ng0Srt. Don’t miss out on his blog and comic art, he calls “Pieces” on his website.

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

Things that Sparkle

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It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. “

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Tis the season for illumination. Today, on All Things Fulfilling I am going to focus on all things that shine. 

  • A clear star lit night
  • Tinsel on the tree
  • New parents and child experiencing their first Xmas together.
  • Icicles hanging from the eave of a roof
  • Lives spared by a Kiwanis and UNICEF Maternal and Neo-natal Tetanus vaccine
  • Polished silverware
  • Rudolph’s red rose
  • A gemstone given as a surprise gift
  • Glitter on a holiday card or an ornament
  • Candles on a tree, a mantel or on a festive holiday table
  • Snowflakes as they fall from the sky
  • A child’s face when they discover a book that draws them in
  • A beautiful painting, surrounded by golden frame
  • Crystal stemware
  • Someone who is passionate about the Art they create
  • Sequins on festive holiday clothing
  • Love discovered, love renewed in the spirit of Christmas
  • The face of the elderly or a veteran knowing and feeling that others really care
  • Twinkling white lights decorating a house
  • A lit lamp post standing sentinel for the arrival of holiday guests 

If you really want light up your own spirit this year, adopt a holiday family. Make some one else’s holiday shine by giving some gifts or fixing’s for a big holiday meal.Holiday buying this Christmas,  was especially fulfilling for me. I bought a few items for a set of twins who otherwise may not have had Christmas at all. More fun than the gifts given inside of the box, I created wrapping that really showed that I cared. When all is said and done, I think the packaging will be as treasured as much as the gifts inside! 

This year, buy one less gift for your own family, and give it to a family less fortunate and in need.  Here is a website that lists the top five Christmas charity projects. http://bit.ly/8ZBCef

Make your heart merry and illuminate the spirit of someone else this holiday season!

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Observing Darkness and Light

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Every moment of dark and light is a miracle.” ~ Walt Whitman 

A Christmas tree gives rise to thoughts of darkness and light. Have you ever noticed how people’s interpretation of what makes a pretty tree is so opinionated and individual?

Many families argue while putting up a Christmas tree. Some like it simple, some more ornate. A modest nativity scene indicates to some that, indeed, Christmas is here. Others like their homes, properties and trees lit up like the night time neon lights of the Las Vegas strip. Some families like simple homemade strings of popcorn, and cranberries or perhaps pine cones sprayed with gold paint will do. An evergreen wreath hung on a door and lit by a single spot light is beauty at it’s best for some individuals. It is interesting how a certain holiday decorating style can be fulfilling to one, atrocious to another. It is all a matter of personal opinion. How about you? What is your idea of good taste? 

As we all know, a good way to tell whether the lights and ornaments are well-placed on a tree is to step back and take a look. You can find the spaces that are empty and fill them with shimmery light. 

It is like life. In order to move away from the darkness, we have to discover the light. In this upcoming holiday, find it – seek it! Stop and listen to the carolers, spend a day or evening walking Main Street. Join in the energy of the shoppers. Listen to beautiful holiday music. Bake a batch of Christmas cookies for an elderly person or a military veteran who has no family at all. It will lighten your spirit and brighten your day along with some one else’s, too. 

Watch out! You might just get caught up in the spirit and feel the swish of a magic stick over your world. What a fulfilling thought that is!

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Routes and Roots of American History

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Art among a religious race produces relics; among a military one, trophies; among a commercial one, articles of trade.” ~ Henry Fuseli

Culture and religion has been at the root of American civilization. In Frederick, Maryland there are a wealth of attractions including roads and byways that hold great interest for visitors to this area who wish to understand the founding principles and history of our country. The National Scenic Byway, a 38 mile stretch of land from Frederick County to the Catoctin Mountains is dubbed the Hallowed Ground. Many soldiers fighting for our country’s independence lost their lives along this route.

Attractions that collectively represent the beginnings of trade, politics, culture and spirituality throughout our country’s history can be found throughout this region. To name a few:

  • The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – dedicated to the first canonized Saint.
  • The C & O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio) explores the history of shipping.
  • The Shifferstadt Architectural Museum highlights the finest examples of German colonial architecture.
  • The Barbara Fritchie House commemorates the author of the poem that described waving the American flag in the face of the Confederate Army.
  • Weinberg Centerof the Arts houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ.
  • Visit the All Saint Street Neighborhood – the center of commerce and entertainment during the latter part of the 19th century for African Americans.
  • America’s replica of the famous Grotto of Lourdes in France is represented at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of the Lourdes at Mount St. Mary’s University.
  • The John Hanson House, the Ramsey House and the Roger Brooke Taney House all hold significance in some aspect of early American history by those that occupied them or visited them.
  • Battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam are located close by. 

We have only touched lightly on a place that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named as a Great American Main Street community. There are so many things to see and do. The designation as a 2010 Top Arts Destination by American Style Magazine only strengthens this small city’s position as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

To obtain a travel packet of information on this region, visit www.fredericktourism.org. I hope some of the readers of this blogsite have the opportunity to visit this area. It was a fulfilling trip and I would like to  return again to take in more of the sites and scenes.

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Along the Pathway of American History

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“Art is anything people do with distinction.” ~ Louis Dudek  

Today we continue my stroll through Frederick, Maryland. This small city has been a cornerstone along the pathway of American history since it was founded by English and German settlers in 1745. It was home to the State’s first elected Governor and to Francis Scott Key, author of the national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. Many civil servants and other notables who shaped our country’s beginnings have traveled through and stopped in this town, located on the Mason-Dixon Line. 

As I continued further along the redbrick walkway lining Carroll Creek, I came upon the FauxSchool. http://bit.ly/q3BVUN.  Fulfilling evidence of the teachings of this school of trompe l’oiel painting were present on wall murals located throughout the city  bringing artistry to public places. 

 A short distance from the Faux School I entered the C. Burr Artz Library. http://bit.ly/pbsq6z.  Posters, flyers and literature were displayed pertaining to the One Maryland One Book Author Tour, which was underway. This year’s book for the statewide reading program for Marylanders is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This library is obviously a great resource to the community based on the activity that I saw inside it’s doors. 

I became fully aware of how deeply steeped in American history this town is as I walked by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. www.civilwarmed.org.  The medical artifacts that pioneered the way for modern medicine are on display. Compassion, courage and devotion of medical personnel during wartimes are honored throughout this museum. It is a tribute to those who heroically cared for and healed soldiers that were at the forefront of the destruction and death of the infamous battles of the Civil War period. 

There is much more to share about this town of Frederick, Maryland. http://bit.ly/DWXsf. It is a destination that encompasses art and culture, history and religion.Frederick has been indentified as one ofAmerica’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. I can understand why. 

Return next time to All Things Fulfilling, as I share a self-fulfilling attitude that I have noticed in the West, but had absorbed much less of on the East Coast region until I visited Frederick, Maryland.

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

Film Buzz on Film Friday

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Yesterday’s blog about creating buzz before the official launch of books, film or music has brought to mind a film that is doing just that – and doing a fine job of it, too!  

ALPFD A Cold War spy thriller, and independent film, directed and produced by Justin Eugene Evans, is expected to hit cinemas after January 1, 2012. Part 1 of the film is available and has already been downloaded more than 780,000 times through VODO http://vodo.net/alpfd. 

A Lonely Place for Dying just won 4 more awards at the VanWert Film Festival, one of the 40 film festivals where it has been screened. Awards have come for everything from best screenplay to visual effects awards to best acting to best song track. It is fulfilling news, for a $200,000 budget film. To read more about A Lonely Place for Dying, please visit http://on.fb.me/jjsOLX. It is hitting foreign film screens too! 

Looking for More Information on the Summer Film Scene? Here are a few films that are about to come to theatres, and they are adaptations from blockbuster books. 

Sarah’s Key – Limited Release July 22

The Help – In Theatres August 12th

 One Day – In Theatres August 19th

 Have a good weekend everyone. For those who are suffering from the heat wave, take in a movie this weekend in the cool comfort of a movie theatre!

 

 

 

Show Me! Tell Me!

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Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told.” ~ Henry David Thoreau  

That’s it – I have had enough. I am finished, out of here, done, fini! The television is going off.  DYJHITW all you hear about is people suspected of killing their children, political posturing and positioning, people in cars running from the law! 

What ever happened to the Land of I CAN, I WILL, I DO! I want to hear positive stories to lift my spirit, tales to help me believe in the good of mankind, news that inspires me to follow in the footsteps of people who have overcome because their heart and souls are working hard to make this a better world. Despite what the media would have us believe, fulfilling stories like that can be found! 

How about sensationalism of a different kind? 

I am turning off that squawk box, right here, right now. 

 I may have to take a sneak peak at the TV every once in a while though. There is a story I want to see on PBS’s “Directors Cut” that is near and dear to my heart. I think it will  be shown sometime in July. It is all about an independent film called “ALPFD.” http://bit.ly/mEF3FN.  The film has undone stereo typical thinking in the filmmaking industry that in order to produce quality films you need a big budget, big production crew and big bucks. If you hear when the movie ALPFD will be featured on PBS “Directors Cut” , let me know. I do not want to miss it. IMHO it will be a good show! 

As I end this blog, I have just gotten more exciting news about ALPFD and it’s U.S.  theatrical release. There is also an arrangement in the works that will increase the visibility of this film,  not just in theatres but in households across America, too! For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/mAvP5d.

 TLK2UL8R.

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Film Friday Update on ALPFD

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Filmmaking is such a collaborative medium.” ~ Daryl Hannah

Filmmaking is such a collaborative medium.” ~ Daryl Hannah 

The film A Lonely Place for Dying is proving it is alive and well on the film festival circuit that is for sure! I received an update this week on this film that is drawing more attention and awards on the film festival circuit with each passing week. 

So far, ALPFD can boast of 38 Official Selections into Film Festivals across the country and 45 nominations in various categories of awards. This low budget, independent film has won 19 Awards including 14 awards for Best Feature Film. The musical score by Brent Daniels has won awards too. 

Last summer, ALPFD was featured in MovieMaker Magazine www.moviemaker.com  (Issue 88) in an article called “Period Pieces on the Cheap.” It is notable for the sizeable number of visual effects shots in a production of less that $ l million dollars. There were more than 350 visual effects, most of them created on a computer without bells and whistles, from a dorm room at DeSales University http://bit.ly/mF9VB9.  

The total budget was $200,000. Everything was done with economy in mind. Yet this film attracted high profile actors, James Cromwell and Michael Wincott. A Lonely Place for Dying has proven that low budget films can attract quality actors, fans and win fulfilling awards too! 

Just as we promised we will continue to follow this film as it continues on the film festival circuit. The results are not in on some nominations yet. It has claimed awards in Santa Fe, Durango, Cinema City, Wild Rose Film Festival, Myrtle Beach and Indie Spirit…. just to name a few. My guess is there could be more awards on the way.

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