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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Out of This World Art Launch

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Happy New Year, Everybody!! Today I will be sharing some very exciting news about two artists whose work I am proud to say fulfills me every day because many of their published art prints hang on the walls of my living space…

Last week as I read the blog My Life with the Masters, I thought “Jumpin’ Jupiter! This news is out of this world!”  American artists Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik have made history and literally brought science and art together when their paintings were launched into space and are now rotating the Earth at phenomenal speed.

According to the article written by Kristen Thies, “This art/science journey initially began when James Nadir, a Silicon Valley engineer who retired from Intel invited Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik to create 1.25” x 1.25” paintings to be placed into a small space capsule aboard the International Space Station.”  To read the full article, please visit My Life with the Masters.

If you are not familiar with these artists, Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik, learn more through their bios. I came to know this husband and wife team of master artists back in 1998 through the beginnings of an independent publishing venture, Stove Prairie Press, LLC. Much of my knowledge about the industry can be attributed to these pioneering artists whose work has reached new heights in this New Year! Congratulations, Richard & Nancy!!

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

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday, January 4th!

 

 

A Secret Society of Influencers

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If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein

As I strolled through the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History last week I read accounting after accounting of life in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the years when the pioneers researched and tested the origins of atomic theory. Exposure of the scientists to the general population was very limited, and they formed their own “secret society” of sorts.  Their early discoveries have opened the doors to modern day nuclear physics, medicine and quantum mechanics.  The work of Albert Einstein, Madame Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi and others have impacted our world immeasurably.

This point was driven home to me in a way that I could most relate to when I saw the pop-culture exhibit which displayed how many movies, television shows, books, childrens toys and games, and other products (even Atomic skis!) have been influenced. The captivating and educational collection of materials are nostalgic and historic. Seeing displays of science and art in one place made me realize the impact of nuclear science and medicine on our society during the formative years of my childhood. Post World War II men and women as well as  baby boomers especially will appreciate the exhibit. Here are a few images I captured of  my visit. I am sure you will recognize many of the titles and products.

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There was much more of interest to me in this museum than I would have ever fathomed. Here are some of the other exhibits. If you are near Albuquerque, NM do stop in to the National Museum of Atomic Science and History. The Bradbury Scientific Labratory in Los Alamos, NM the site where the first nuclear bomb testing took place is just an hour away also.

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.

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.

Time Marches Forward

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In all things of nature, there is something marvelous.” ~ Aristotle

During the final days of February I marched myself down to New Mexico, while my husband went off to Alaska to coach the Colorado Mountain College ski team. I’d gone to spend a little time with the birthday boy, our son!

Over the next few days I will share a few of my travels.

If you are ever in the area of Tent Rocks National Monument located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, do stop! Ecologically speaking, it is quite unique. Not even to mention the scenery. If you go, be on the lookout for “Apache tears” – rounded, clear pieces of obsidian. Hot lava created the “tent rocks” some 6 to 7 million years ago, and the “apache tears” were caused by obsidian rock abruptly cooling.

Images will much better tell the story of tent rocks! Follow me through the slot canyons deep into the park.

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IMG_20150221_123313_835Oh, the climb was so worth what we saw at the top! Thanks for entertaining me Meghan and Marc. It was great being with you and happy 27th birthday, Marc!

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.

Place of Beauty and Reflection

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The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” ― Henry Ward Beecher

Today, we will switch gears. It’s been snowing here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and the temperatures have become winter like. They’ve dipped below zero already. Before I let go of autumn I want to share one more group of fall photos.

On the last day of my book tour on the East Coast, my sister-in-law Grace said “I want to take you over to the Cylburn Arboretum.”

“Sounds good,” I said. If you know me, you know any place that has to do with trees and flowers piques my interest!” The Cylburn Arboretum didn’t ring a bell from my days of growing up in Baltimore but I was up for one more adventure before I headed back to Northwestern Colorado.

As we drove along, we came to some very familiar turf! “Oh, my gosh, Grace!Look at that. There’s Sinai Hospital!” ,” I said. “Wow – do I ever have memories of that place!”  http://www.lifebridgehealth.org/Sinai/Sinai1.aspx. This is where I came for my pediatric check-ups after my “pioneering” heart surgery at Johns Hopkins.

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“The Cylburn is right across the street!” Grace said.

Now the largest public garden in Baltimore,  The Cylburn Mansion with it’s beautiful grounds were once owned by a Quaker businessman, Jesse Tyson, who was President of Baltimore Chrome Works (later Allied Chemical). He came from a family who made their fortune mining iron, chromium and copper. Jesse’s brother, James ran mining operations in the states of Pennyslvania, Georgia, California and Vermont. For more information, please visit this link. http://cylburn.org/about-us/history/.

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Today, The Cylburn Arboretum is also home to The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.http://bit.ly/112G6Zj. The greenhouses this time of year were filled with poinsettias along with other aquaponic plants.

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Oh, what a lovely place the Cylburn Arboretum is. Thank you, Grace. It was a delightful morning spent in such a quiet, peaceful, reflective place. It seems we are always surrounded by our big family when you and I are together! It was delightful being just with you! Even in October, the plantings and flowers at the Cylburn Arboretum were gorgeous.

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The Cylburn Arboretum was the last stop I made along the path of my East Coast book tour. How blessed I am to be alive to share my story. For more information on the award-winning memoir  “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” please visit this link.http://amzn.to/141aW6S. The publication is available in audio, paperback and e-book.