Nature’s Energy

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“For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies…..”  ~  Psalm 95:  1-6

Over the course of history many songs lyrics have been composed with words about the beauty of nature. Have you ever really thought about the impact the beautiful colors of nature have on your psyche?

This time of year I take my walk in early morning to avoid the heat of the day. Inevitably, I find myself marveling over plants that were barely out of the ground a few weeks ago that are now in full bloom, electric with color. How does that happen? Nature provides sun, warmth, moisture and all the right conditions that are needed to set the gardens in motion. Amazing!

Nearly every color is represented in the garden this time of the year. Here are just a few pictures I took on my daily walk last week.

pernennial 6 lupine


perennial 3 peony

When I see the real stunners of magenta, orange, yellow, indigo and purple, I ask myself “How can I not walk with gratefulness for life and boundless energy no matter what else might be happening around me?” The magnificence of nature makes me want to stand up and sing.

Summer has just begun and we have several months ahead to enjoy the brightest time of year. Enjoy getting outdoors and seeing the landscape all decked out with color.

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Nature’s Spring Ritual

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“Daffodils,” an image by artist Nancy Guzik is a promise of spring that I look to so often throughout the winter. As we transition into warmer days and brighter colors nature heralds in her ritual of budding and blossoming flowers displaying “an adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday life.” Akin to how people describe the Japanese ceremony of tea making.

I’m fortunate. I don’t have to look beyond the walls of my home to see Guzik’s beautiful image, and although I don’t own the original painting, the fine art lithograph has given me as much pleasure over the years.

daffodils 2

Guzik says of art “Somewhere within all of us we long for a certain truth, each searching in our own way, possibly to know and feel who we are and why we are here on earth. At times there is a yearning to express that. Perhaps that is why I paint.”

As we move another day into the season of rebirth, I know as my truth that one of the best reasons to be on this earth is to witness the season of miraculous renewal in nature. Happy Spring and “bloom where you are planted!”

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


Time Marches Forward

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In all things of nature, there is something marvelous.” ~ Aristotle

During the final days of February I marched myself down to New Mexico, while my husband went off to Alaska to coach the Colorado Mountain College ski team. I’d gone to spend a little time with the birthday boy, our son!

Over the next few days I will share a few of my travels.

If you are ever in the area of Tent Rocks National Monument located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, do stop! Ecologically speaking, it is quite unique. Not even to mention the scenery. If you go, be on the lookout for “Apache tears” – rounded, clear pieces of obsidian. Hot lava created the “tent rocks” some 6 to 7 million years ago, and the “apache tears” were caused by obsidian rock abruptly cooling.

Images will much better tell the story of tent rocks! Follow me through the slot canyons deep into the park.








IMG_20150221_123313_835Oh, the climb was so worth what we saw at the top! Thanks for entertaining me Meghan and Marc. It was great being with you and happy 27th birthday, Marc!

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

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.

Daylight Comes in Memories


 “Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” ~ Wayne Dyer 

Daylight savings time has arrived. For those people whose bodies are sensitive to light, perhaps the long season of diminished day light will provide an extra hour of sleep.

Spring, summer and fall are my seasons of choice. Here in mountain country, winter is literally experienced in the raw. The biting, blustery Arctic winds are a reminder of the nature’s less gentle ways with us. Moments of glory in winter come when the rays of sunshine peak out from behind the somber clouds of a raging snowstorm. Those rays carry a special splendor, far different and more dazzling, than the sunshine of summer days. I rely on extra moments of light and illumination from within during the dark season of winter. 

This year, my memories and photographs of our family’s October wedding by the Chesapeake Bay, will bring me pleasure in the bleak hours of a winter’s day. My niece’s engagement began with the husband-to-be creating a story that will long be remembered. The thoughts of the sparkle of the bride’s eyes on wedding day, the camaraderie of eight cousins brought together to share a special occasion, the budding new relationship of two strong families tied together through a marriage, and God’s grace in granting long, healthy lives to the bride’s Grandparents who were there to witness the scene, is enough to brighten even the longest winter. 

My Thanksgiving horn of plenty was filled early this year with the blessings of a family gathered. A nourishment of spirit comes with fulfilling thoughts of gratefulness for the abundance of a happy home and family. I need not a thing more.

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Effervescent Spirit of the West

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Nature always wears the color of spirit.” ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I tried fishing the pools, the bucket, in the riffles and at the tops and tails of running water in the clear, cool river, to no avail. Not even a fingerling was interested in the wet or dry flies that I had to offer the other day. 

No matter, it was a glorious day of angling out on the Elk River in Steamboat Springs,Colorado. It was fulfilling enough just wading in the water up and down the shoreline. I listened and watched the water as it tripped and cascaded over the river rock making the way downstream. In some areas the water rushed and gushed by me and in other parts of the river it gently meandered past. 

Standing in the stream, knee deep, I couldn’t help but think of the life giving properties of water for human consumption and for our crops. I breathed deeply the scent of rotting leaves and became lost in my own thoughts of just how precious and few the days are here in Steamboat without the white winter goddess called Snow. The landscape has already turned from green to grey, the few leaves that are still left on the aspens are now gold – what many shopkeepers, galleries, businessowners,  restaurants and hotels hope to find in the upcoming season of winter. 

In a  resort town, it’s important that tourists and travelers find lots of sparkle on the mountain but also in the spirit of the people who serve them. To survive in a seasonal economy, it helps to have visitors return at all times of year to visit the Elk RiverValley, and to talk with others in other places about the bountiful beauty of the scenery and the people. 

The residents of Steamboat easily share their effervescent spirit. Many people would say there is no other place they’d rather be. It’s an inspirational place that people write ” they’d love to call home.”

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Sculpture Artist Works Every Minute, Every Day


Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were big things.” ~Robert Brault

 I wasn’t kidding last week when I said “I might just go find something fulfilling to do this spring, like play in a big sandbox, so I can once again view the world through the eyes of a child.” This Easter weekend, my husband, our adult son and I had a reunion  in southern Colorado, not too far from the border of New Mexico. We visited San Luis Valley to see  Great Sand Dunes National Park

There is an artist in residence at this National Park who works 24/7. She is assisted in her sculpture work by her helpers, the wind, the rain, the freeze and the thaw of the Colorado snow. The changing climate and seasons and the sub-surface aquifer also help to chisel and carve the sand sculpture created by the artist, Mother Earth. One only needs to stand amid this enormous natural sculpture for moments to realize that the sweeping winds change the shape and form of  nature’s art work  from moment to moment. 

The sand dunes at this National Park, surrounded by majestic 14,000 ft mountain peaks are the tallest sand dunes in North America. They measure 750 feet high covering more than 330 square miles. One of the most diverse parks in the country, the elevation ranges from 7,515’ to 13,604.’ It includes one of the rarest natural eco-systems on earth. From mountain peaks to sandy deserts to wetlands, this National Park leaves no doubt in one’s mind that God, the greatest architect in the World, created this glorious site for mankind to enjoy. For more information on how this vast area of sand was deposited in a very remote mountainous area of Colorado, visit

In a place where there are not many things to do other than witness the beauty of the Sangre de ChristoMountains(meaning blood of Christ) and the awesome Great Sand Dunes National Park, we filled our Easter baskets with remembering how nice it was to be all together again, as a family of three.

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It is All about Perception

” Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places, where other people see nothing” ~  Camille Passaro

All day I have been listening to weather news from the mid-Atlantic States. What would be an ordinary snowstorm in the mountains, brings total chaos to areas unaccustomed to snow. If you have ever lived in the Washington, DC area, you know what I mean. If the word snow is even whispered, the government shuts down and all the people leave their offices early in a panic before the white stuff even begins to fly. As soon as that nasty word is uttered, the snowplows line up on the roads to start the vigil. When the first snowflake is spotted, the plowtrucks nearly collide rushing to be the first to sweep the demons off the trail. It is not the snow that is the enemy, it is all the people who have been driven into a frenzy by that four lettered word!

Someday, we will all learn that mother nature is not something to be defeated, controlled or subdued. Mother nature does not listen! She does her own thing, a real woman of independence!

I say “Let it Snow! And a special Merry Christmas to plein air painters of the mid-Atlantic who rarely get to experience a white Christmas. Wrap up and go outdoors and paint today. You have been given a wonderful gift from nature. Some of the most beautiful and most romantic paintings have come from plein air painters who have braved the weather and painted outdoors in less than comfortable conditions.

“Richard Schmid Paints the Landscape- November” DVD was filmed on a day when the weather conditions went from sun to clouds to snow all within the few hour film shoot. West Wind Fine Art, LLC can attest to the weather that day!  Richard’s DVD will teach you, as an artist, how to cope with changing light and weather conditions as you paint out of doors.

Richard took his slide show to the Portrait Society of America a few years ago. Maybe he can return to the Capital again, and teach Washingtonians a thing or two about changes in climate!


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