“For Unto Us a Child is Born”

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Advent Day #24

People the world over can relate to the expectancy that comes with the arrival of a precious new life.love came down

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From our family to yours ~ Merry Christmas!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. We hope you enjoyed the advent calendar from All Things Fulfilling. It was a grand peek between the book covers of 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

 

Advent Day #22 Open Hearts in Community

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Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans

I’m more proud than ever to attend a church whose motto is “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors.” The Steamboat United Methodist Church reached out, extended their welcome and showed that they practice what they preach to the Jewish congregation here in Steamboat. The menorah issue was put to rest and it was lit on Tuesday December 16th on the front lawn of the United Methodist Church. The Menorah is symbolic of  “light, wisdom, and Divine inspiration” but it was also designed as creative art for our community.

This story was broadcast on CBS and in newspapers in other cities. To watch the video about what ended up being a story about love in action, please follow this link.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/12/11/menorah-blocked-from-courthouse-lawn-in-steamboat-springs/

One of the best things you can teach children when they are old enough to grasp the concepts is about multi-cultural understanding. Author Sue Batton Leonard recounts her personal experience with multi-cultural love in her memoir, an anthology of stories in her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It has won several awards, one in the young adult category. The book is perfect for giving to “tweens’ and teens and an entire family.

Xmas image of book cover for Mailchimp newsletter

The memoir, an award-winning anthology of short stories is available in audio book (narrated by the author), paperback and e-book. Here is how to order:

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.

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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

 

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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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.

 

 

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.

Premiering Today: Alone Yet Not Alone

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This is a well-written adventure told from the point of view of an intelligent, observant, and mature girl on the brink of adolescence, with a knack for sharing relevant detail.” ~ Publishers Weekly

Happy Film Friday! Arriving in theatres today is a movie brought to you by Enthuse Entertainment, an independent film production company.  Alone Yet Not Alone  is based on a real life account of a family during a time in history when British and French troops were struggling for control over the abundant resources in the new territory called America.

Despite increasing stresses and hardships around them, the Leininger family gives thanks and praise for the beauty surrounding them in nature and for their newly-found treasured right of “the freedom to worship.” The family had fled Germany to avoid religious persecution.

Through a terrible ordeal, when the two Leininger daughters are kidnapped by the natives,  the Leninger’s find security in their belief that what their homestead and their land would not provide, they would find fulfillment in God’s promise.

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To watch trailers of this movie, and to learn more about the plot, the cast and the making of the movie, please visit this link. http://www.aloneyetnotalone.com/photosvideos

Do return on Sunday. We will be honoring all fathers, including my own, whom I have also honored in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Sue’s memoir