Tracing a Story

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Genealogy, n. An account of one’s descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own.~ Ambrose Bierce

Isn’t it interesting how others can motivate us? In yesterday’s blog I mentioned being inspired by members of our local genealogy group to begin tracing a story in my family history.

When I see the work of others, I get all fired up even when it comes to putting my energy into something I didn’t think I had much interest in. But I am beginning to get stoked up.

magnifying-glass-over-business-text-10920164One woman in our group has traced family members who came twenty-seven generations before her. She has located information about her Scottish ancestors born in the 800’s, mapping out her family tree with names, birth dates, places of death and towns of residence. A phenomenal amount of research!

Another member has compiled so much material it’s contained in a tome-sized binder. Very well organized! Now she is considering what to do with all the data, images and pedigree charts.

Others have traveled to their ancestors hometowns all over the world and taken gravestone rubbings, spoken with historians, museums and community town fathers who have helped them reveal some important facts and figures to complete their stories.

It’s sad to think how many important stories in history get lost because of people’s disinterest in keeping them alive through writing. No doubt it is easier just to live in the present.

If you have even the slightest interest in your family history, check out this website. You may come across something that could become your own version of a Gift of Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Families in Shipping and Commerce

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“Great people have great values and great ethics.” ~ Jeffrey Gitomer

I recently revisited a National Historic site that I remember from my childhood.  It’s just a couple of miles from where I grew up in Towson, Maryland.

Hampton Mansion, tagged as a “Palace in the Wilderness,” at one time equaled half the area of present day Baltimore. The site tells a story of early settlers, the Ridgely family, prominent Marylander’s who were colonial merchants in iron production, shipping and commerce. Ridgely’s iron was said to be “the most profitable exports in the mid-Atlantic colonies.” Read more about this tale of an industrious family who helped fuel a new nation.

The artifacts, beautiful gardens, parterres and vistas, the Georgian mansion, stables and workers quarters for the indentured servants are all evidence of a powerful businessman, who was said to be “genteel” kept “the best table in America” and was “very kind to his servants”. Written entries in journals evidence the care that was taken make Christmas gift lists for all the domestic help of the estate.

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Honoring Black History Month

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Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.  ― Carl Sagan

February is Black History Month. I recently read a book about the Underground Railroad which helped me to understand more deeply about period of history when the movement to free slaves began. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier is a departure from the historical art fiction that I’d come to know this author by. Her hugely successful book The Girl with the Pearl Earring was my first foray into Chevalier.

As with all of Chevalier’s other books, the writing is beautifully rendered and The Last Runaway did not disappoint. My journey into this period of history through Chevalier’s publication has made me want to read even more about the Underground Railroad.  As suggested by the docent at the Harriet Tubman Educational Center and Museum, A Song Unsung will be my next push into learning more about the Underground Railroad.

My interest in black history began in earnest last fall when I visited the Harriet Tubman Educational Center last in Cambridge, Maryland. Tubman was one of the most notable figures in history who was a catalyst for change in her people and in our country’s story about slavery.

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Celebrate Black History Month by doing some reading on the subject.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. See you on Monday.

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.

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’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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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.

Film Friday: Red Doors

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 Never lose a holy curiosity ~ Albert Einstein

I am trying to put two and two together, and it has me inquiring. As I have driven around the Mid-Atlantic States, I have noticed a trend that never occurred to me before.

What is it about churches and red doors? There must have been a run on them at some time in history because they seem to be prevalent. Or perhaps, I think, “maybe I am reading  into something that isn’t there.”

As I have come to find out, red doors on churches, apparently, do have historical and meaningful significance. They indicate a place of harbor for those who are facing life’s storms. Physical and spiritual protection is found for many who open and enter into crimson-colored doors.

Did you know there is an award-winning film called Red Doors?

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http://www.reddoorsthemovie.com/story.html. It is not a new release but it still has relevance in the world today and it is worthy of attention. The film is about a family that is trying to communicate its feelings and each member is doing their own soul searching about relationships. Diversity of culture is also a theme that runs throughout the movie.

If you are looking for something to do that is thought provoking this weekend, Red Doors may be the solution. Click for Info & Ordering Red Doors

Before you leave this website, there are photos below of some of the places that  have given me inspiration for this writing.

Come back on Monday, we will share some other independent thoughts, words and views from author Sue Batton Leonard and www.allthingsfulfilling.com , the blog of www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com .

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 Photo Above: Old Trinity Church, Church Creek, Maryland – built between 1686- 1692 http://oldtrinity.net/aboutus.html

Photos Below: Other ” Safe Harbors ” on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

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

Wandering Walters Art Museum

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The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~Aristotle

As a teen, the WaltersArtGallery (now known as the WaltersArt Museum) in BaltimoreCity was one of my favorite spots to visit on rainy afternoons. It was interesting to return, decades later, to the museum as an adult. As a young person, I was not fully aware of the breadth and depth of the collections, ranging from pre-dynastic Egyptian to medieval to baroque and Italian. Flemish and Dutch, and art from far Eastern parts of the world (Asian art) is also among the more than 35,000 artifacts, paintings, ceramics, sculpture on display at “the Walters.”

Many of the naturally illuminated galleries, exquisitely showcase the artwork from around the world in the best light. The architecture is as interesting, and inspiring as the art itself. To read more about the treasures within the WaltersArt Museum, please visit this link. http://thewalters.org/about/history/. Follow me as I explore the interior spaces through this photographic tour. I did seek permission before taking these photos inside the museum.

It was a memorable Memorial Day weekend, spent in Baltimore. Time spent with my twin sister is always fulfilling!

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The exterior of the building is far different than the interior. Don’t let it fool you!

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Dramatic and exquisite entry into the “Walters”

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Above & Below: Baroque & Flemish paintings inside this gallery space

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Above & Below Images: Architectural Embellishments

The Leo in me couldn’t resist the Lion on the doors to one of the galleries

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Images Above & Below: Italian Art

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Above Image: Exhibit about book binding

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This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. See you tomorrow on http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com , where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Fulfilling Tour of Newport, RI

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“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” ~ Frank Borman

My travelogue of Newport, Rhode Island continues today. I had the opportunity to tour the Marble House, one of the mansions. High up on the Cliff Walk, overlooking  Rhode Island sound and the Atlantic Ocean, it was home to the Vanderbilts who made their fortune as venture capitalists in the NY Central Railroad and steamships. Their investments and other wealthy families foresight in our country’s future, brought more prosperity through expanding commerce.

The opulent stone palace, now a National Historic Landmark, was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and was constructed during the years 1888-1892. Once complete, it was a 39th birthday present to William K Vanderbilt’s wife, Alva. How do you wrap a present like that? In gold, of course, inside, rather than out. She loved to entertain and saw the Marble House as “her temple to the Arts in America.”

Husband and wife, had separate private reading rooms filled with books, on opposite sides of the mid-level landing of the enormous, two story marble stair case. It is where they went to get away, relax from all their social entertaining. They also built a Chinese teahouse on the property with a magnificent view where guests could go for peace and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the Marble House activities.

Alva and William K Vanderbilt had three children. Their son, William K, Jr. was a pioneer in auto racing. Their son, Harold pursued his passion of yachting and sailed in the America’s Cup three times. Their daughter Consuelo became the 9th Duchess of Marlborough.

Photos are not allowed to be taken inside the mansion. To read more about the Marble House and to see a photo of the gold room in the Marble House, please visit this link. http://www.newportmansions.org/explore/marble-house.

It was a fulfilling weekend in New England, exploring art, history and architecture.

Return on Monday to www.AllThingsFulfilling.com where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

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Another “summer cottage” along Belleview Road

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Above:  Marble House, the Vanderbilt’s Summer Cottage by the Sea.

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Chinese Teahouse on the property of Marble House

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The Backside of Marble House – facing the sea

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Above: Me with the Babcocks, my niece Kara & Her husband Joe – two architects!IMAG0450

Above: Gates of Salve Regina Univ in Newport, RI – it was graduation day!

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Above & Below Images: Stopped by the International Tennis Hall of Fame – it was neat!

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Newport Harbor

Goodbye, Newport! Can’t believe we saw all these sites in Newport in one day. Well worth the stop!

Signed,  Grateful, that I returned to this area once again. Loved every minute!