Window into a Composer

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Advent – Day #11   A Window into a Composer

Art has long been associated with churches. As I sat in the Holy Name Catholic Church last Friday listening to the beautiful composition The Messiah from composer George Frederick Handel,  I was reminded of how so much music has lasted through the ages.

In “My Beloved,” chapter 16 in my award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, I  kept the legacy of Frederick N. Crouch alive. This ballad was written in 1837 and the family connection is explained in the chapter.

kathleen mavorneenFor more information on ordering the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard, please go to these links.

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

Opening the Conversation

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Advent: Day #8

Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.” ~ Robert Alan Silverstein

For the past two years in the town where I am residing, we watched the building of a huge addition to the Holy Name Catholic Church. The construction essentially turned a relatively small church into a nearly cathedral-sized structure.

On Friday evening, the entire town was invited in as the Yampa Valley Choral Society and the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra brought Handel’s Messiah alive in the community. My husband and I saw the gorgeous space and heard beautiful voices and outstanding orchestral music. The evening put me in the Christmas spirit. I am so grateful the Catholic Church opened up  this event to people of all religious affilliations and that I was able to attend it! The tickets sold out so quickly.

Throughout my lifetime I have been exposed to multi-cultural viewpoints and a diversity of religions. On this eighth day of Advent I’d like to share an image that will give insight into one of the largest influences in my childhood years which helped me to develop my thoughts and writings on spirituality.

alleluia

How To Order the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard,  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected:
Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

Holy Humor

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“The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.” ~ Richard Dawkins

Last week, after I posted a blog called “Towson, Now and Then,” http://bit.ly/1rRHEiX  I received a comment from a blog reader who I do not know. Her comment set off a whole host of memories of an era gone by.

immaculate conception towsonConnie, the blog reader said “she and her sister attended Immaculate Conception School in Towson.” I certainly have a life time memory of the church that school was attached to.

Chris, my childhood friend, used to rope me into going to church with her after school on holy days. The first time she suggested it, oh, how I wanted out of it. I had no interest – but, I’d do anything for her. We loved spending time together.

For Chris, being a good Catholic, not going to church on a holy day was out of the question. Besides, her place of worship, the Immaculate Conception Church, was with within walking distance of our junior high school so there were no good excuses.

During that era (the 1960s) girls and women couldn’t enter a Catholic Church without something covering their heads. The first time I went to Mass with Chris, I was not aware of this policy since I wasn’t Catholic so I didn’t bring a hat. Chris had a solution, so there was no “declining her invitation.” She gave me a clean Kleenex to spread atop my head. So I wouldn’t feel foolish, she left her mantilla in her school bag and topped her brunette hair with a white Kleenex, too. Well, if that wasn’t a source of amusement and laughter for two middle school aged girls, I don’t know what was.For me, trying to hold in my giggles as I sat in the pew looking at Chris with Kleenex on top her head was nearly impossible. I don’t think I heard one word the priest said. So much for being reverent!

Years later, I entered the Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, Maryland, this time in all seriousness, as I stood up for my best friend as a bridesmaid in her wedding.

Isn’t it lovely, how we make connections with people of different faiths throughout our lifetimes? It gives us a chance to experience spirituality from different perspectives.

All churches, not just Catholic churches, have gone through many transitional times since my childhood days. If you have any stories of how your church has changed since “back then,” won’t you share them with us by posting a comment on this site.

We’d love to hear from you! This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book (the treasure is in the voice!), paperback and e-book.

Stories of Faith on Film

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 “Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and  looks out the window which hope has opened” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Easter lily

To many people around the world, preparing for Easter  means more than shopping for Peeps™ candy, jelly beans, chocolate eggs and other confections. Spring is the season of renewal of spirit. For people of faith, that means remembering the Easter story of biblical times – a tale of crucifiction, death, resurrection and life.

On this Film Friday, I have resurrected a list of the top ten Easter movies of all times. Although Easter is several weeks away, perhaps your family would enjoy receiving one of these films in their Easter basket. I am posting this list early so you can add one of these DVDs to your shopping cart. Many of them are considered to be epic productions and can be located, and your order can be fulfilled through the Internet Movie Database www.imdb.com :

    • Passion of Christ (2004)

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    • The Robe (1953)

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    • Ben Hur (1959)

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    • Holiday Inn (1942)

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    • Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

The Last Temptation of Christ

    • King of Kings (1961)

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    • The Easter Parade (1948)

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    • Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

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    • Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

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    • The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

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It’s interesting, as I was doing research for this blog I noticed that most of these films were produced decades ago. Is it true that the American people have fallen out of favor with the one of the cornerstone principles that our country was founded upon, faith? Is that why contemporary filmmakers are not approaching religious subjects? I’d like to think not, and Reelz is offering outstanding programming over the Easter Season.

Barabbas: Where the Bible Left off…His Story of Redemption BeganClick for info & ordering, a Reelz Easter Event,  premiers Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26. Part I  of the mini-series, featuring Billy Zane, will be broadcast on the night of March 30 and Part II on March 31. To find out the times and the channel for Reelz in your viewing area, please visit this link . There is also a trailer on the Reelz website .http://www.reelz.com/barabbas/.

I’d like to end this blog with an audio Chapter from my memoir Gift of a Lifetime – Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It is a short Easter story that the entire family can enjoy listening to together. Have a great weekend!

Lift Up Friends

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 “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust 

Friday’s blog on All Things Fulfilling was a tribute to friendship and the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. 

I’ve had have further thoughts about the value of friends  since that blog writing. Coming together in friendship is the result of finding community with like-minded people – individuals who have joint interests, passions and beliefs in life.  In recent years I’ve made friends in service, through Kiwanis, and by volunteering once a week at an interfaith, community-run thrift store called “Lift-Up.” Being involved with arts organizations such as We Write Steamboat(a meet-up group for independent publishers), the Steamboat Writers Group , the Colorado Independent Publishers Association and  Strings Music Festival has brought me pleasure. Community involvement, with the Yampa Valley University Women has also been part of my life here in Routt County, Colorado.

It’s interesting, in a time when the news is reporting  church membership is declining, there seems to be very active participation in churches, in this town. Perhaps the remote location and natural beauty of the region make spiritual exploration important to folks. Yesterday, Reverend Tim at the UnitedMethodistChurch in Steamboat, elevated our spirits through his lenten season storytelling. Our new Director of Youth Ministry and independent musician, Taylor Anderson charmed us with  his musical skills playing the modern remix of  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on his ukulele. Very uplifting for a day of Irish celebration. A song appropriate for so many who are grateful they can be here to retire, run location-neutral businesses or for recreational reasons.

After the service, our appetites were fulfilled with  tasty goodies baked by women with whom I volunteer at the thrift store donation center. Thank you, Jeanette, Shirley and Louise and to all the other generous people who bring in provisions for fellowship moments after the service each week. The special St. Patty’s Day confections were decorated artistically. The women poured heart and soul into their efforts, it was evident.  It is a pleasure to volunteer with these women at the donation center for the thrift store.

St Pattys Day UMCSt Pattys Day UMC3

Jeanette, Louise, Shirley and Sue (top image). We are only a few the 100+ volunteers that make Lift-Up so successful in this community.

The Color of Life

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To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist. ~Schumann

Have you ever noticed how some people like to look at things through rose colored glasses and others through dark shades?

Our perspectives on life are often a reflection of our experiences, or a response to our day to day existence. As we open ourselves up to new ways of being, we add color to our journeys and our attitudes.

I received some interesting feedback from the annual blog report of All Things Fulfilling the other day.  Glassworks Inspired by Nature was the second most popular blog I have ever written in 1,013 posts. If you missed it, here is a link. http://bit.ly/12WopI6.

Why was this blog so significant? I think there could be a number of reasons why people found that blog post fulfilling:

    • They liked reading about Louis Comfort Tiffany’s art
    • The book, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, was interesting to learn about Click here for info & ordering
  • People wanted to know something more about stained glass and it’s history. http://bit.ly/Wj0YlQ
  • The life of an artist who saw life through a full spectrum of colors and through the love of his craft , is inspiring.

You can look through a kaleidoscope of colors in your own life by exposing yourself to an interesting mix of people, food, culture, faith and art. Or you can also enter into places of worship to look at stained glass windows, which will show you a full spectrum of colors in a different, equally fulfilling way.

tiffany-windows_05These are my reflections for today. We all have our own independent thoughts, words and views on life. Thanks for visiting this site; I’m grateful for an audience.

Note: The image is a Tiffany Studios creation of beauty.

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

International Spiritual Film Festival

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“Where people are now in terms of economic crisis… I think that’s when people look to film and to spirituality.” ~  Emilio Estevez 

Spirit, enlightenment, personal transformation, personal fulfillment have been the focus over the past few days on All Things Fulfilling. In keeping with that theme, today we will share some information about an event that is coming up in March, for those of you who enjoy independent films of the spiritual nature. 

The Center for Spiritual Living in Morristown, NJ will play host to Awaken! International Spirit Film Festival in March.  An world gathering of independent filmmakers, films about a variety subjects about our spiritual universe will be screened. Wonderful connections of like minded-people, will no doubt take place over this three day period and tickets can be purchased for individual movies. 

Stay informed for developing details about the event through this website. http://bit.ly/RWn4d2. Last year’s selection of films are posted on the site, and many of them can be obtained through www.imdb.com, The Internet Movie Database. At a later date, information will be posted about the films that will be shown in 2013 and the exact date of the event.

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