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.

 

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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.

Harvest Full of Blessings

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“All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreath’d with nodding corn.” ~Robert Burns, poet

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“Dad… Mom… I’m home!” I yelled out, when I arrived at my parents place in Maryland along the trail of my East Coast book tour. “Let’s party!”

I hadn’t seen my parents since the publishing of my memoir back in March, and I was promised that once I got home, there’d be a celebration and reunion.

What a splendid time it was on the shores of the Chesapeake. Couldn’t have asked for more stellar weather  to celebrate being with my family, my hard work and the real star of the story, Fanny!

This day there is no need for too many words.The pictures will tell the tale of a few fun filled  days with remembering the best things about all being together under one roof. Unfortunately, not everyone was present due to work and college obligations. Some missed the party, and I would have loved to have spent the day with them also. But, I can’t help but reflect on the harvest of blessings I have in my life. Here are some of them:

Photo Below: Always the “bestest hostess” ever , my Mom! I swear the woman has hosted more family gatherings in her 85 yrs of life  than any person on the planet! IMG_20141025_103816_849

Two photos below: A beautiful fall day on the Chesapeake! Couldn’t have asked for much better!IMG_20141025_103556_906

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Above: My contribution to the party – I baked a pineapple-upside-down gingerbread cake and easy, flavorful pulled chicken sandwiches.(Thanks to http://www.mccormick.com/. A Maryland company!)  The cake was also yummy and definitely a do-over recipe. Will make again!

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Above: Me with my twin sister’s family – her two daughters and their partners. The guy and gal on each end of the picture are husband and wife architects – the Babcocks!

Below: Two great women in the kitchen – my mom and my niece Devon! She is usually at  http://www.milarepacenter.org/index.html, in their kitchen, cooking up nutritious food for one and all.

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IMG_20141025_134147_528Above: What’s a family get together without a few games? My brother-in-law, the REAL chef of the family setting up for a good wholesome Corn Hole Competition! My brother Scott and I were a champion team. We beat the pants off my twin sister and her team mate, Jay. (She’ll say I am exaggerating).

Below: The day was spiced with more family, food and discussion.

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Photo below: The patriarch and matriarch at the far end of the table – surrounded by  family (grandchildren, in-laws & significant others)

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Below photo: What’s a BBQ without ribs? My two brothers are digging into food instead of digging foundations. Thanks Scott, the ribs were melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and messy too!IMG_20141025_143533_873

Below: Jan looks like she is practicin’ to sing in the choir. Glad to see you are holding your hands like the Trapp Family singers always did in the “Sound of Music.”

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The end of a fabulous day on the Chesapeake Bay.
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I’m never at a loss for subject matters to continue a story with this family of mine that keeps on building and getting larger!

For some of us who can’t always get home for the holidays – we decided this was an early Thanksgiving! Tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling, I will show just a few more fruits of God’s creation that my sister and I discovered when we went biking and exploring in the woods together. It was just like old times.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard and her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.  More information will be coming later on in the week about a nationally broadcast book reading that I will be participating in soon. Thanks to blog radio! https://richerlifellc.com/Harvest_Book_Reading_2.html.