Do You Have the Answer?

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When we can’t piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together.” ~ Terri Guillemets

Did you see the images of the two churches posted on yesterday’s blog called Where is this Place? If not, scroll down to view them or follow this link.

Today, I’ll share a few more pictures to help in your quest to solve the puzzle. The images from Edifice #1 are all taken from the exterior surrounds of the structure, except for one. The grounds are beautiful, immaculate and a very peaceful place to visit. Where is it?

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All of the images of Ediface #2 (below) were taken inside the structure. Although the exterior of the building is impressive, more stunning are the interior colors, the icons, the painted ceilings and walls.  The interior is as awesome  as some of the greatest cathedrals of Europe.

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If you know where these two churches are located, hurry and comment on this blog. The first person to correctly identify the names of these places of worship wins a complimentary copy of my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. The answers will be revealed tomorrow morning on All Things Fulfilling.

 

 

Good Friday Travels

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Easter is God’s blessing to the world. It is his way of telling us that, love and hope, still exists in the world. ~ Unknown

Today, on Good Friday a processional walk, a spiritual reenactment, will begin at the Colosseum in Rome and end in St. Peters Square for an open-air Mass on Easter Sunday. Throngs of people make their own solemn pilgrimage following the path Jesus took as he walked and prayed The 14 Stations of the Cross.

Catholics are not the only people who seek to have a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the holy city of Rome. Every year, thousands of tourists ask travel companies to help them plan a trip to Italy during the sacred Easter week. Many special events are held in Rome this week including classical music concerts.

If you have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the Papal City, remember to book your trip many months in advance, especially if you plan to visit during holy week.

Today I’d like to share a few pictures of the city of Rome during Easter week. I hope you will return to All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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No matter where you plan to go this Easter weekend travel safely. Make it a special weekend with your family as you remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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

 

 

Film Friday: Outdoors Adventure

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Thanks to a posting I saw on www.cruxcollective.com I became aware of a documentary film of interest in the outdoor adventure movie category.

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Valley Uprising http://reelrocktour.com/ is a film about extreme athletes who climb to explore massive cliffs, crags, boulders and rocks in Yosemite National Park in high up places. They are a whole culture of adventurous souls who are the next generation of outdoorsmen who flock to this area and find their “religion and fulfillment” in rock climbing.

Red Bull Magazine says it’s “The best climbing film ever made.”

It won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Just one award among several others.

Worthy of attention, I am sure, although I have yet to see it.  I am putting this film on my 2015 list of films not to miss! Sounds like a nice evening of adventure from the comfort of my living room. Yet, Yosemite is on my National Park Wish List to see upclose some day.

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and her new book of stories Lessons of Heart and Soul,

visit this website http://www.allthingsfulfilling.com/about-the-book/.

The Gift of Time

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Thank God for his priceless gifts and miracles around the world. ~ Unknown

“Good morning, Sunshine!” I said to myself as we began down a long cornfield-lined road, with sun rays gleaming on the dried golden stalks. It was a gorgeous morning on the Chesapeake. My parents and I were headed to a landmark that harkened to us from Route 213 in Kent County, Maryland.

As we drove up to the Shrewsbury Parish Church I said, “I feel as if I could be in England. This place looks like something from a British show on PBS.” All the while, I was thinking of the Vicar of Dibley, a program that I loved that is now longer broadcast.

We walked the grounds, peaked in the windows, read ages old headstones and just enjoyed being together as parents and adult child taking in the wonders of the season and the beautiful surroundings. Before we left the grounds, the Rector Rev. Henry M. Sabetti stopped and we chatted. We talked about my new memoir and I gave him a bookmark of  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Today, I’d like to share images with our readers. If you are interested in reading more about this historic church on the Eastern shores of Chesapeake Bay country, please visit this website.http://www.shrewsburyparish.org/Shrewsbury_Parish/About_Us.html.

It’s been wonderful spending time with my family while being on my East Coast book tour. That morning was just one of many treasured early lights of day that I have spent with my parents. Now I head back to the wild, wild west!

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IMG_20141028_114420_973The two gravestones above must be for all the mothers and fathers who are in this final resting place in the churchyard of Shrewsbury Parish.

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Revelations about my Mother

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“A man is a little thing while he works by and for himself, but when he gives voice to the rules of love and justice, he is godlike.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My mother didn’t know I was going to snap this picture.  She was looking at me as I was exclaiming about the beauty of the place we had discovered in our travels on the Eastern shore of Maryland. I couldn’t help myself. She was perfectly positioned in a place where I think she’s belonged all her life. Behind the podium on an altar.

“Why is that?” you might ask. I think she missed her calling. She should have been a pastor. She has ministered to almost as many people over the course of her lifetime than any chaplain by:

  • Feeding the masses
  • Caring for the sick
  • Counseling the disheartened
  • Opening her heart,  doors and table to strangers and friends alike

My mother told me that even as a little child, she was drawn into a church. Her father drove  her on Sunday mornings and dropped her off, where she sat alone in a pew listening to the sermon. She said she loved the “peacefulness of it.”

She never pursued the life of a reverend formally. She was born 85 years ago, and back then there were few choices for women, and they didn’t do that. She fell in love with my father at the tender age of 12 and they created a beautiful life for themselves together. Their marriage has lasted 65 yrs and counting.

Mom found her own way to minister to people, including building an outstanding relationship with an African American woman, who was needy and appeared at my parent’s door one day back in the 1950s. That wonderful woman became part of our family. If you want to know more about this story, “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” tells it. Follow this link for more information.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Today, Mom I salute you! This is how I’ve seen you throughout your lifetime – leading people surrounded by tall trees in a setting  just like in these picture!

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. More photos from the Shrewsbury Parish Church will be posted. The place was a most welcomed respite from our travels off the beaten path of the Eastern shore of Maryland.

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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.

Wandering Early Places of Worship

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“Ghosts wandering here and there troop home to churchyards.” ~ William Shakespeare

Today, as promised, I’d like to share more about my fulfilling travels to  St Paul’s Kent in Rockhall, Maryland. If you are ever in the area, do stop by and visit this historic Anglican Church. It was organized in 1692 after William and Mary ruled England.  The historical facts about the church are many but, here is a brief synopsis about the structures in the 19 acre churchyard.

  • The first building was 40 X 24 ft – erected by Daniel Norris (1695 – 1696)
  • The present church was constructed in 1713 at the cost of 70,000 lbs of tobacco
  • 34 pews were contained in the original structure
  • It is only one of four 18th Century churches to have a semicircular apse
  • Church walls feature Flemish bond brickwork
  • Semicircular arches are above doors and windows
  • Church remodeled in 1940 with an addition adding 23 new pews
  • The stained glass window in the chancel cost $250 back in 1864
  • The church bell was installed also in 1864 for $10
  • The Marble baptismal font was a gift by the congregation to the church in 1863
  • The Parish House, offices and classrooms were added in the later part of the 20th Century.
  • Actress Tallulah Bankhead is buried in the churchyard at St Paul’s Kent.

Although our country is relatively new compared to European history, getting out and exploring historic churches and museums in Maryland is a fascinating way to spend a beautiful fall day. Not too far from St Pauls, Kent is the African-American Schoolhouse Museum.http://bit.ly/1tFqu9R. Since I was headed north to another historic church called Shrewsbury Parish, I’ve saved that museum until I return next time to the Eastern shore of Maryland.

I hope you enjoy these images of the historic landmark church St Paul’s Kent. It is a beautiful and holy place for reflection and meditation!

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Below Photos: Another structure in the churchyard – Circa 1766 according to bricks on the side of the building. This building was inaccessible but peaking through the windows there were identical fireplaces on each side of the interior of the structure. The photo of the fireplace was taken through old windowpane.

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IMG_20141028_151351_247Happy Halloween, everybody. On Monday I will making revelations about my mother and our stop at Shrewsbury Parish – off at the beaten path of the Eastern shore of Maryland.

This blog is brought to you by http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com.For information on Sue Batton Leonard’s EVVY award-winning memoir, please visit this link http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

 

 

Acorns in Rock Hall

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“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” ― Joe L. Wheeler

It’s crazy! Yesterday morning I was awake at 4am thinking of my travels of the day before. I had visited with my parents a church of historical importance in Rock Hall, Maryland. St Paul’s Kent http://www.stpaulkent.org was established in 1692 and probably the earliest surviving Anglican Church on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The church is set among 19 acres of huge trees which dwarf the edifice itself. There, among the rotted leaves of fall, I came across something that set off a whole plethora of unrelated nostalgic images. I began to think of things I hadn’t thought about for decades.

IMG_20141028_150153_927Thousands and thousands of acorns lay on the ground among crisp, rustling brown oak leaves that had fallen from the trees. The smell of autumn was so earthy and pungent that it was like sensory overload from my past. As children, my sister and my two brothers and I spent hours every fall cavorting and frolicing in piles of leaves in pure unadulterated bliss!

“Look, Mom,” I shouted out, with the delight of a 10 year old little girl. Remember how we used to collect acorns and pretend they were Brownies (aka young Girl Scouts)?

“I sure do!” my mom said. Even at 85 her memory is rather good. Besides she was an assistant trooper leader, so I had little doubt she would have forgotten.

“Remember how sometimes we used acorns for craft projects? We painted girl’s faces on the nut  and the top of the acorn,  looks like a Brownie’s cap.” I said to my mother.

“Yep! You girls sure had fun doing that,” said my mom, bending down to pick up a handful of acorns laying at her feet.

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Now, here comes the big question – How did I get from the image of an acorn looking like a “Brownie” with a round face and cap to the memory of making fried marble jewelry this morning?  That is where my mind  traveled next. Egads – my brain must be all scrambled up! I hope I don’t make fried marble jewelry for breakfast. Funny how our mind goes with no logical reason.

Today I’ll share images of the lovely churchyard at St Paul’s Parish, Kent in Rock Hall, Maryland.

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Note:  Many gravestones date back to the late 1600s. Sea captains and other well-known people including Tallulah Bankhead are buried in this 19 acre churchyard.

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Do return tomorrow I will be sharing images of the structures that were built some 300 years ago with Flemish bond brickwork.

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her EVVY award winning memoir “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Treasuring Art

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 “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”   ~ Chinese proverb 

At a thrift store recently I came across an art print of Thomas Moran – imagine my delight! It seemed like a God thing – the image was just sitting there waiting for someone who’d appreciate it to pick it up . I gave in to my desires and purchased it – a real deal. I am very grateful to have the Moran art print hanging on my wall. He was one of the greatest illustrator and colorists of all times.

Every evening the week before last, I had been watching Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  http://bit.ly/182xh1NMoran’s name was mentioned as one of the top landscape painters of the 19th century who ventured west. I learned he traveled to YellowstoneNational Park from the Hudson RiverSchool in New York, in the summer of 1871, to document on canvas what others described as a place where “hell bubbled up.”

Many artists traveled westward in the early days of the founding of the U.S. National Parks and they continue to be favorite places for artists who are seeking inspiration. Artists still go to paint, photograph and write about the dramatic landscapes in these protected government lands which are far more unique than many other places across the United States. Ralph Waldo Emerson described the National Parks as places where “God is more easily found in nature than in the works of man.” 

Lots of people find personal fulfillment in poking around in thrift shops. You never know what treasures you might find. I scored!

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

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!

Journey toward Enlightenment

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Words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels. ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Okay…it’s 4:30 in the morning and any minute we’re off to the airport…Burlington VT to Newark, NJ then 14 hrs to Bejing, from there to Mongolia and the Gobi–the first leg of the journey has begun!” ~writes Clemma Dawsen from Sandgate, Vermont.

I doubt my friend Clemma has taken her feline. She’d be more likely to transport her horse. She’s an equestrian, and finds the same kind of fulfillment in owning an equine as the Dali Lama does in having a cat. If you missed the story about His Holiness and his feline, scroll down to yesterday’s blog.

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Clemma is part of a group that is traveling from Vermont to Tibet to learn more about personal fulfillment. This group is made up of artists of all types. She will be journaling as she travels, she is the poet/writer of the group.

I am so proud of Clemma. She is deserving of this assignment. I met her when I worked as education coordinator at the VermontStateCraftCenter “Frog Hollow.” She is one of those kinds of people you feel as if you have known forever – warm, loving and friendly. We “clicked” immediately. Although we only worked together for a relatively short time, she has never left my heart. When we met, we had a lot in common – both of us had sons, who were only children. They attended the same high school and both boys have artistic spirits. We’d share notes on teen rearing a lot.

I encourage you to follow Clemma and her fellow adventurers on the blog Triptych Journey: The Alchemy of Stories, Art and Travel. http://triptychjourney.org/  .

The group is also comprised of a project advisor (a Buddist who has more than two dozen books on spirituality to his credit), a documentary cinematographer, a photographer, and a choreographer. Their mission “is to tell compelling world stories that speak to all of us. Using multimedia arts and expression, Triptych Journey connects audiences to vulnerable people, cultures and ecology, instilling values of conservation and preservation in a rapidly changing world.”

Happy Travels to All! I can’t wait to be enlightened about what is learned from this experience that will take  these artists to far off reaches of the world.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow.