Nature’s Spectrums


I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

God sure swished one big paintbrush filled with a spectrum of colors when he waved it over the plant life put on this earth. Walking inside and outside the National Botanic Gardens I was awestruck by the range of botanical treasures which come from our land and places across the globe.

Enjoy this journey through visual images that I captured with my camera when I visited The National Botanic Garden’s last weekend. Some of these plants seem like “freaks of nature,” they are such exquisite masterpieces.

Nature has all kinds of gifts to share with people all over the Universe. Take every opportunity you can to be outdoors to enjoy it. It is good for the heart and soul.














Goodbye for now from me and my gal pal, my twin sister, from the National Botanic Gardens in Washington, DC.



IMG_20141007_093258_933This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her book

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected available in audio, paperback and e-book,  please visit this link.

Histrionics of Twins

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Life is like a moustache. It can be wonderful or terrible. But it always tickles. ~ Nora Roberts, From the Heart

Pet white mice!  “They’re so cute,” we’d say to our parents. “We want one to play with.” My sister and I nagged at our parents to let us have a domesticated mouse until finally they gave in. Did anyone else have one or more of those creatures as a kid?

Ohhh- now, that pet brings back memories to yours truly and her sister. We kept our mouse in a glass aquarium with a screen over it for a cover so it wouldn’t escape. However intruders were more the problem. More than once we were awoken in the middle of the night by loud squealing. A wild mouse that came from somewhere within our house had found it’s way into the cage. When we turned on the bedroom light to investigate all the noise, we caught the mice in action mating. You’ve never seen two little, screaming naive twins scamper into their parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night so quickly! We jumped on mom and dad’s bed with wide-eyes to apprise our parents of the situation!

Three weeks later, an unexpected development! We learned more about the facts of life, when we awoke to little, translucent pink  bodies squirming in the clear glass cage.

photo of white mouse withbackpackWho knows where the newborn babies went when they disappeared the next day. As a young child, I figured the cat clock hanging on the wall in our bedroom, that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog,  had come alive and eaten them up. After this happened twice, my parents sent the pet white mouse packing!

Would your parents have let you have a white mouse for a pet? I grew up in a bit of a crazy house. Domesticated white mice were only the start of the many animals that could be found inside and out on our family’s property – more about our zoo in my memoir.  Add a wonderful character named Fanny into the mix of the menagerie, and life was lived differently than many of our neighbors.

Oh….I can only image the stories my parents could tell about the histrionics of life with two twins.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.


Remember? Dear Twin Sister,


 Remember? Dearest Jan,

culotte dressesOur culotte dresses back in the 1960’s? Didn’t we think we were the hottest things going? With our home sewn outfits, our matching wooden handled pocketbooks, our Pappagallo flats and our pink Tangee lipstick, we were stylin’! We added a spritz of our fav perfume “Heaven Sent” (for me) and Yardley’s “Lily of the Valley,” (for you)  and we were sweetly ready to face another day of high school, which we pretty much dreaded.

I don’t think we ever sewed our culotte dresses with sleeves in them. Those were too time consuming. It wasn’t easy getting the inset sleeves just right. Besides when it was chilly we liked wearing our little, white round-collared blouses under the culotte dresses. We turned out the “jumpsuits,” as some girls in other parts of the country called them, a dime a dozen.

Remember the fulfilling feelings when we had gotten through a sewing project without the sewing machine malfunctioning and getting the bobbin and thread all knotted up. Seemed to happen every other minute – that temperamental tension device on the machine caused ultimate frustration!

We were always under our own pressure to get our latest fashions completed to wear to school the next day to show our girlfriends. Remember?

What ever happened to our sewing machine anyway? Did you hand it down to one of your daughters?

wooden handled pursesPappagallo flats from the 1960stangee3heaven sent perfumelily-of-the-valley-eau-de-toilette

Jan, memories of all these products and more came flooding back to me as I wrote my memoir. Did you know that some of  these products can still be purchased? At the Vermont Country Store. And lots of other throwback products from the good ole days!

Jan, thanks for walking down memory lane with me this morning. Next time we are together, hopefully it won’t be too long,  I’ll do as you have requested. I’ll sign your copy of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected!

Much love. Your Twin Sister.

P.S. How do you want me to sign your copy? With my maiden name Sue Batton or my married name – Sue Batton Leonard?


Wandering Walters Art Museum

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The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~Aristotle

As a teen, the WaltersArtGallery (now known as the WaltersArt Museum) in BaltimoreCity was one of my favorite spots to visit on rainy afternoons. It was interesting to return, decades later, to the museum as an adult. As a young person, I was not fully aware of the breadth and depth of the collections, ranging from pre-dynastic Egyptian to medieval to baroque and Italian. Flemish and Dutch, and art from far Eastern parts of the world (Asian art) is also among the more than 35,000 artifacts, paintings, ceramics, sculpture on display at “the Walters.”

Many of the naturally illuminated galleries, exquisitely showcase the artwork from around the world in the best light. The architecture is as interesting, and inspiring as the art itself. To read more about the treasures within the WaltersArt Museum, please visit this link. Follow me as I explore the interior spaces through this photographic tour. I did seek permission before taking these photos inside the museum.

It was a memorable Memorial Day weekend, spent in Baltimore. Time spent with my twin sister is always fulfilling!


The exterior of the building is far different than the interior. Don’t let it fool you!


Dramatic and exquisite entry into the “Walters”


Above & Below: Baroque & Flemish paintings inside this gallery space




Above & Below Images: Architectural Embellishments

The Leo in me couldn’t resist the Lion on the doors to one of the galleries






Images Above & Below: Italian Art



Above Image: Exhibit about book binding





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I Am a Lucky Gal!


“Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”
– Bill Cosby

Dear Dad, 

Happy Father’s Day! On this day, I would like to say thank you for the way you raised us four kids. It was not until I had a child of my own, did I come to fully understand and appreciate some of the things you said and did for “my own good.” 

  • Thanks for making me do things, whether I wanted to or not.
  • Thanks for not always giving me what I wanted but always fulfilling my real needs.
  • Thanks for making me accountable for my own actions and not always taking up for me.
  • Thanks for your quiet, steady presence in my life.
  • Thanks for being the “king of rig.” There were many things we had because you “rigged things” your way, with your building skills.
  • Thanks for not letting us whine (well……not too much).
  • When we whined….. thanks for not listening!
  • Thanks for doing your best at keeping me centered and balanced– my husband, your son-in-law, appreciates that.
  • Thanks for the love you have given to your eight grandchildren and teaching them the lessons that their parents forgot.
  • Thanks for giving me security in knowing that you would always be there for me, no matter what. 

We are grateful that you have lived to a healthy, ripe age. Your eight grandchildren are as crazy about you as your four children are!  Happy Father’s Day, Dad ~ You are in my thoughts on this day! 

 Love, Your Elder Twin Daughter    

      Grandfather & Grandson together last year.

 Wonder where that 22 yr old got his  genes for extremely premature gray hair?

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e-Conomies. What Does it All Mean?

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I look for what needs to be done. After all, that’s how the universe designs itself.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

e-Commerce, e-Books, e-Publishing, e-Marketing. You’ve heard the terms a lot lately, haven’t you? But what does it all mean? It means entertaining new ways of doing things! 

Let’s face it – our economy needs a kick in the pants! We need independent spirited folks to take ideas and run with them. Brain power, our most available resource, surrounds us everywhere. It is not located in any one place. We need people who are tired of sitting around waiting for something to happen, to make things happen! 

Right here in Steamboat Springs,CO there is a group of people who want to have their say, they want to be heard, and they want to be seen. Right now! They are not willing to play the game of waiting on someone else to create their future for them, or not! 

She Writes Steamboat is a newly-formed meet-up group that will come together for the first time at 4 pm on June 21st at the Bud Werner Memorial Library.   Independent publishing is one economy that is on the fast track and it is gaining momentum every day. Business people, non-profit organizations, parents, teachers, children and very ordinary folks with unique stories to tell are pumped. Internet and media technologies have changed so greatly over the past 10 years anyone can jump on the train and tell their story, inform, educate and inspire others through all independent film, music or books. Entertain that thought! 

Further, the internet has provided a way for independent publishers to become visible all over the world! Are you ready to share your voice? Join Us @ She Writes Steamboat – click here

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Make ‘Em Laugh, Make ‘Em Laugh

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“Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place.”  ~Josh Billings 

The nation and many individual states choose a deserving poet to be honored with the Poet Laureate Award each year. The Vermont Council on the Arts has just announced they will be honoring their very first Cartoonist Laureate on March 10, 2011. It is the second state, behind Alaska, to grant this kind of award. Chosen for the child-like intensity to his work, native Vermonter James Kochalka will been given the award. He is the illustrator of the comic strip American Elf and a number of graphic novels. It is not surprising that Vermont has decided to present a deserving funny-man or woman with the Cartoonist Laureate award each year. The state of Vermont has the distinction of  fulfilling the need for a Center for Cartoon Studies.

 I personally love a daily little chuckle but what I really like is to roar out loud until the tears come to my eyes and roll down my cheeks. Everyone knows that a laugh like that can sometimes hurt our bellies, but it is oh so fulfilling and worth it. The best is when I can share that kind of laughter with my twin sister. Wow – can we get going! It is often difficult to stop. Often the humor is only understood by the two of us. Others, they just don’t get it because it can be over the silliest things. In good times and in bad times, who can’t use a little laugh each and every day? It is good for our hearts. This I whole-heartedly believe! To read about a study from the University of Maryland on the health benefits of laughter, please go to

Just listening to the news each day and hearing the politicking is enough to make one laugh, no matter what your political persuasion happens to be. Democrats, Republicans and Independents, alike, often resort to child-like behaviors just to get their way. We could probably hold a debate as to whether it is even necessary to have a Cartoonist Laureate award. But there are too many debates already going on in this country, why add one more?

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Two Hearts Beat As One


All who joy would win, must share it; happiness was born a twin.” ~ Lord Byron  

The psychology behind raising twins has been studied and written about for decades. The newer studies suggest that behaviorisms of parents raising twins, should be different now, than years ago. All the do’s and don’ts in today’s world of parenting twins looks like this:  

  • “Don’t treat them as a unit”
  • “Separate them into separate classrooms in school.”
  • “Don’t dress them alike.”
  • “Make play dates with separate groups of friends”
  • “Spend time with each twin, individually”
  • “Look for and encourage independence.”
  • “Don’t dress one in pink and the other in blue”  

The list goes on and on. Mighty tall orders to fill for parents of multiple births, who are just trying to get through the day without pulling out their hair!  

Despite the changes in recommendations for raising twins, a lot will always remain  the same for two people who were born on the same day, sharing the same mother. I can vouch for that! My twin will always be my best friend, we will always have our own form of “twin speak”,  our “twin intuition” will always be on the radar screen and that magic bond will always be there!  

Happy Birthday, Jan! Our hearts will always beat as one! With each passing year, mine gets larger for you.

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