A Classic Way of Life

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promoting-empathy-and-a-sense-of-community-4-638People are beginning to understand that wealth is not all about money. Real wealth means having good neighbors, living in a close-knit community, finding jobs whose real value is in the personal fulfillment it brings to us.

There is a new community in Devens, Massachusetts, called Emerson Green, whose goal is for it’s residents to “Come home to a connected, community-focused neighborhood that hearkens back to a simpler era – and looks ahead to a sustainable future, aimed at having it’s residents return to a classic way of life and a tight-knit community.” Something to really write “home” about if you are successful in finding such a place in this transient society.

Union Studios, national award-winning architects and co-developers for the project along with NOW Communities have designed the Emerson Green Project with the “right size” in mind. In other words, sustainable living. It has reused a plot of land  on the outskirts of Boston which used to be a military base. The homes, which have several different floor plan options, are as suitable for first-time home owners, families, professionals and empty-nesters alike.

Once the project is finished and people are well-established in their new community it would be fun to see if Emerson Green has met it’s the objectives of  providing a satisfying way of life which by design encourages social interaction. With our emigrating society, this is something more and more people are looking for because studies point to “social interaction” as a contributor to good health and longer living.

P.S. Having good resources such as an outstanding library helps to build great community. If you visit Union Studios website, take a few minutes to peruse information on the newly completed Tiverton Library project as well as other civic and residential projects the architectural firm has been involved with.

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

Reaching for Heaven

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“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards, our dwellings shape us.” – Winston Churchill

Building custom homes and places of faith have been projects that my family’s 100+ year old construction company has been involved with through the decades.

This fall in keeping with work of the men in the family who came before him, my youngest brother Scott soared up toward heaven to inspect the steeple at St. Johns Church in Reisterstown, Maryland in order to assess the necessary restoration project of Batton Builders. Interestingly, the church was built in 1816 and then destroyed by fire on Christmas Day and only the steeple and cornerstone of the church survived. The ediface was rebuilt in 1869.  The History of St. John’s Church, Western Run Parish from 1800-2000 by Margaret Worrall details the history of this church.

Since I wrote about the family building business in Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, today on All Things Fulfilling I thought I’d share with our readers these photos of a church restoration Batton Builders has recently been involved with. What a magnificent structure!

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 Thankfully there is no fear of heights in the family.

scottSee 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.

Balance of Power and Economy

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Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. ~ Jack Welsh

Beth Macy, author of the National Best Selling book Factory Man, held an author talk and book signing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado a few weeks ago. I attended and bought the book. It is a narrative non-fiction about Bassett Furniture Makers. The story is jam-packed with complicated family relationships, history and a whole community of people whose lives depended upon the livelihood of the textile and furniture industry in the town of Bassett, Virginia.

big_chair_little_chairAt the foundation of the story is a “full of himself” character who often strained the family dynamic with his leadership style. Add to that the exodus of industry – furniture products being manufactured overseas more cheaply, and the battle that ensued in saving an American town. What do you have? An impressive and fulfilling tale to tell.

A very well-researched book that award-winning journalist Macy writes in a compelling and “you’ve gotta hear this style.”

Business people in every industry at all eschelons of power will glean something from this story about a multi-generational family furniture dynasty.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. 

The First Nostalgist

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Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days. ~ Doug Larson

There is an interesting article in the New York Times about nostalgia and the value of it. 

According to the article being nostalgic used to be associated with “physical or mental maladies.” However, researchers have found that nostalgia, more often than not, is associated with fulfilling feelings rather than bad. Nostalgia gives us a sense of rootedness and continuity in our lives.

And according to Dr. Sedikides, a psychologist, there is a difference between homesickness and nostalgia. He says one of the first nostalgists was Odysseus, “an itinerant who used memories of his family and home to get through hard times.”

Last week, I had a wonderful couple of days in Park City, Utah with my husband. While he attended a conference I traveled around the area. I came across memorabilia that although much of it was Western in nature, and I am an East Coast gal, it gave me warm feelings of this homeland called “The United States of America.”

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. I shot these photos at Pinto Pony Designs in Heber City and Park City Clothing Company. Park City Clothing Company is another outstanding shop that is fun to poke around in. I love the Coca-Cola memorabilia. The store is in the heart of historic downtown in Park City.

Thank you to both places for letting me capture these images for our readers of AllThingsFulfilling.com

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Above photo – My twin sister and I had a Kat Kat Clock identical to the black one hanging in our bedroom when we were children. Talk about bring back memories!

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nostalgia 3 signedThis blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Nearly Losing All Sensibility

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Only when you see through the eyes of the horse, can you lead the dance of the mind. ~ Pete Spates

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I walked into Pinto Pony Designs in Heber City, Utah and what did I find? A shop infused with color that made me smile. Not to mention layers of wonderful gift items and home decor accessories. It’s a delightful store with a warm and friendly owner named Kris.

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Oh, how I could have lost all sensibility in that place! But since I saw no sign that said “Your husband called and said it’s ok to buy anything you want,” I practiced the ultimate in self-control. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and still like myself.

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So today, on All Things Fulfilling, I share these images with you. Ladies and Gents, if you are ever in the area of Heber City, Utah do stop by the Pinto Pony! You’ll have a wonderful time browsing and buying because it is bursting at the seams with all good things! Ask about their interior design services while you are in the store.

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That is all from All Things Fulfilling today! Return tomorrow. You’ll see more photos from this shop that might stir some memories of growing up in the U.S.A. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Where is this Place?

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All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that place.~ Philip Johnson

Identify both of these places and the city where they are located. Leave your answer by way of comment to this blog. First person to identify accurately these two houses of worship will win a free personalized paperback copy of the award-winning book, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  Family members are excluded from entering!

Hints:

  • They are located in a state west of the Mississippi
  • Each place is distinctively different yet, they are located in the same community, a few blocks away on the same street, making them nearly neighbors!
  • I can hear your brain buzzing with activity trying to figure this out!
  • I visited both of these places last week and thoroughly learning more about each and enjoyed the photography opportunities.

Edifice #1 – I am so grateful for the kind stranger who directed my husband and me to the 10th floor of  a nearby building to capture this incredible shot!

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Edifice #2 (below) – As I entered into this building I couldn’t help but wonder how many people every hour, every day, every month or year pass by this structure having no clue of the magnificence that lies inside the doors. All it takes is one peek to grab one’s attention.

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Aren’t both visually and architecturally stunning? If you joined in on All Things Fulfilling last week, by reading the posting Finding a Good Fit and if you read my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected you’ll understand the reason why I enjoy seeing church buildings. It has to do with my family history!

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. I will post a few more pictures of these two extraordinary places.

 

 

 

Finding a Good Fit

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Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.”
George Carlin

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Today on this Thirsty Thursday, one day of the week All Things FuIfilling is dedicated to good news, I’d like to share an architectural wonder that perhaps has greater meaning than what was intended by the firm who created it.

I was drawn to an article about this holy place since the building of churches goes way back to the first generation in the history of my family’s five generation construction business.

There is a house of worship designed and built by the architectural group, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, in Borgloon, Belgium that takes seeing religion from different perspectives to a whole new level.

The good news is that there are many kinds of religions throughout the world. If you live in a truly free society, individuals get to select the religion that best aligns with their own principles and values, or we can opt out of being a believer of any sort.

Images in the article I’ve linked to this website tell the rest of this story. Put your Sunday shoes on, any kind will do, and take a few minutes to enter into this unique church. View the images and you will see what I mean. To learn more about the construction of the structure, visit this website.

That’s all for today! See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. We will be sharing an upcoming educational event that is good news for independent publishers or for people who are thinking of writing their own stories of any type (faith stories, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction or creative writing through the form of poetry, song lyrics or screenwriting).

 

Insights Into the Soul

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Love unlocks doors and opens windows that were not there before. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

“There’s so much to see,” I said to my husband as we took a pace that was much too quick for both of us through the Denver Botanic Gardens. We wanted to see it all. “As much as I am enjoying the Chuhily exhibit, the structural elements and hardscapes that are incorporated into this garden are amazing. You can really see it this time of the year, without all the flowers. There is a real art to having something of interest in the garden year round  when flowers are practically non-existent or ‘bare bones.’ They’ve done an amazing job.”

“I agree,” said Terry. His father was a landscaper, and both of us have an interest and eye for design in the garden. My dad was a custom home builder so I’ve always loved architecture. I find doors and windows incorporated into any kind of structures interesting.

Today on All Things Fulfilling, travel with me through some of my favorite doors and windows that I came across in the Denver Botanic Gardens. I captured these visual images over a very fulfilling trip during the Thanksgiving weekend.

A small key opens big doors – Turkish Proverb

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Commitment opens the doors of imagination, allows vision, and gives us the right stuff to turn our dreams into reality. ~ James Womack

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Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.~ Joseph Campbell

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There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception – Aldous Huxley

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 All the windows of my heart I open to this day ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

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 Let there be many windows to your soul, that all the glory of the world may beautify it ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Happiness sneaks in through a door we didn’t know we left open.” ~ Unknown

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 When one door is closed, don’t you know another is open. ~ Bob Marley

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How can I know anything about the past or the future, when the light of the Beloved shines now. ~ Rumi

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Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.  ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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The heart of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. ~ Audrey Hepburn

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For more insight into the soul of what makes this woman’s heart tick, check out Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

Between Spaces and Relationships

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“Irish blessing – May the memories that you hold be your precious true pot of gold.” ~ Tom Baker

My dad was a custom home builder, as was my grandfather, my great grandfather and now my two brothers and my nephew.

When I came across these vintage home pictures from the 1950s and 1960s, they stirred nostalgic feelings of an era past. The images reminded me of all the times my Dad came home with a new set of blueprints, and unrolled them on the kitchen and dining room table and explained the layout of the different styles of houses to us kids. I was always interested in seeing them and tried to envision the houses when completely constructed.

I came to know what markings were used to show where the doors and windows would be placed and whether they’d swing in or out. Other sets of plans showed where the beams and the roof trusses ran, and kitchen layouts. It makes me happy that my Dad took time to explain all that, because now I have a basic understanding of what I am seeing when I  look at a set of building renderings.

Back when I was a child then there were no CAD (computer assisted designs) or drawings. Each set of blueprints were painstakingly hand sketched using drafting tools such as protractors, rulers, t-squares, tracing paper and more. Trying to make changes to features in rooms and design was so tedious.

The reason I am sharing this information today is because many baby boomers might find fulfillment in seeing these home designs of the 1950s and 1960s.You or a neighbor may have lived in a house just like them!

Enjoy, and do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. We often dig into the archives and find things to talk about that stir fulfilling memories for other people. Whether your childhood was spent in a big home or a little home – what unites happy families are the relationships that exist between the spaces.

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vintage house2vintage house1vintage house 7This blog brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1vFJw1u

Petty’s Pants

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We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created.  ~ Nicholas Sparks

petti pantsHow many of you baby boomers remember wearing “pettipants?” I remember them well. They were popular in the 1960s.

In our house, the mention of “pettipants” got a little confusing. Because the stellar character in my memoir, Fanny, called Scott,  my little brother, “Petty.” So the mention of “pettipants” could have  meant my little brothers breeches! Fanny had a different kind of way of communicating but as she became enfolded deeper and deeper into our family, our lives were enriched many times over as we learned about each others cultures.

I liked wearing “pettipants” to school better than a slip underneath my pleated skirts. They were perfect when cuolottes came in vogue. We used to shop for our “pettipants” in the lingerie department at Hutzler’s, Hochschild Kohns, Stewarts or Hecht Company – Baltimore’s iconic 20th century department stores – many of which are now defunct.

These historic retail establishments were the places people went to shophutzlers towson before the suburban malls began to blossom and spread in the 1970’s. Many of the historic department stores met their demise when that happened.

Michael J Lisicky, author of “Hutzler’s: Where Baltimore Shops” chronicles the rise and fall of some of Marylander’s favorite shopping meccas. For more information on this book, please follow this link. http://www.amazon.com/Hutzlers-MD-Where-Baltimore-Landmarks/dp/1596298286.

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Baltimore’s historic department stores hold many memories from my days of growing up and going shopping with my sister and our girl friends.  If you are a baby boomer, no doubt  you have fond memories of the places you frequented when you went clothes shopping, and the fashions that were popular during different eras of your lifetime.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, a story of multi-cultural love, faith, healing and life lessons.Sue’s memoir