Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Positively Summer Morning Coffee Klatch

by Mauverneen


“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” ― Charles Bowden

Summer mornings for me are best spent outdoors, in the morning sun, with a good cup of coffee. The world is still peaceful, not yet fully awake. Maybe that's why the animals like it. I have been fortunate, these past few years, to live on the edge of a wood. So, I take my summer mornings with joy, and hope for a good day as I sip that coffee. And many mornings, I have company...

Of course, there is always Bailey, hoping for a cookie.

There are always all types of birds


The squirrels always try to crash the party - but they're always fun  to watch
And sometimes, the mother deer will bring out a baby or two

And on occasion, we get the unexpected!

Luckily this one was only after some apples!


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
Coming Soon!   MauveOnTheMove.  My travel blog!
 See more photos at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com







Tuesday, July 4, 2017

INDEPENDENCE DAY


by Mauverneen

INDEPENDENCE
Synonyms: self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-subsistence

Happy Independence Day!  July 4th – the day we Positively Celebrate our freedom as a nation. 
Very often, when I hear the word freedom I get this ringing in my head – “freedom…freedom…freedom…”  It’s Aretha Franklin belting out those words in her song ‘Think’!  " Freedom – freedom – freedom – yeah freedom…"    It always makes me want to dance, which I don’t think is too inappropriate for today. 

There are different forms of freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from oppression, freedom from a dictator, freedom from an abusive spouse or parent.  Freedom of and freedom from.  Freedom brings responsibility; being accountable for one’s self and not infringing on other people’s rights - even when they don’t believe the same things we do.
The revered Lady with the torch
There have been wars and revolutions throughout history in the name of Freedom.  I think sometimes we forget how dearly our own country paid for our Independence.   

We have a number of symbols of our freedom here in the U.S. – the flag, the eagle, the statue of liberty, among others. Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first American flag.  (Did you know A flag expert is called a "vexillologist?")  It was also a woman, Emma Lazarus, whose poem "The New Colossus" appears on the base of the statue of liberty.  Francis Scott Key of course wrote the lyrics to the Star SpangledBanner, something that I hope is still being taught in schools. It became our national anthem in 1931.

I think the National Mall in Washington D.C. is one of the most exciting places to see some of our monuments to freedom.  Laid out on about 1000 acres the mall really is the people’s place. The boundaries of the mall are the Capital building to the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House to the Jefferson Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

Washington Monument, Washington DC
Several years ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time walking along the reflecting pool, the section between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument – a good sized piece of real estate – and was totally impressed.  It’s a beautiful area, anchored by the two monuments just mentioned, with other memorials in between and further out.  On the other side of the Washington Monument is the two mile green mall where protesters often gather, exercising their right to freedom.  I wish every American could see our nation’s capitol at least once in their lives. Not only is it impressive, but it’s a wonderful history lesson that instills a sense of pride in being an American. 

In Philadelphia, there is the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and in Boston there is the harbor and the Old North church where the lanterns were hung to alert the militia that the British were coming. In New York there is of course, the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island and FreedomTower, built on the site of the World Trade Center.
In South Dakota there is Mount Rushmore with it’s carved faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.  It was built as a ‘shrine to democracy' by Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln, although a state historian named Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of the sculpture.  It is far more impressive in real life than it is in pictures, with faces 6- ft tall or, to put it in perspecitve, the size of a 5 story building. 

Mount Rushmore
Civil War Re-enactment
There is Chickamagua, Fort Sumter, Antietem and Gettysburg.
There is Selma, and Montgomery, and Birmingham, Alabama.
There is Wounded Knee and Little Big Horn.
In Texas there is the Alamo and in Hawaii there is Pearl Harbor.
From sea to shining sea.
Different wars, different fights, different freedoms.

We enjoy our beautiful Monuments to Freedom as well we should and revere those graveyards that honor the fallen who have defended that freedom.  For they deserve to be honored.  And thanked. Profusely.

In the midst of our picnics of hot dogs, burgers and sodas, our dips in the pool or the lake or the boat ride on the river, in the midst of our brightly lit, loud, colorful fireworks, let’s all try to stop for a just a minute and think about what we are celebrating.  And then get back to dancing! 


Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.  Abraham Lincoln
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
                                                                                                          Ronald Reagan
                                                   



As always, words and photos are my own and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in its entirety. In fact, I encourage it!



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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Positively Leaving The Nest

by Mauverneen




      I watched those baby robins from the day they hatched. Yesterday, they tested their wings.
It took just 14 days.
      I would peek into the nest every morning, just to see if they were all still there - there were four. I was prepared to put anyone back into the nest who fell out. The bigger they got, the more I worried that would happen. They began to look pretty crowded. But every day, there were four. Until yesterday.
      When I peeked in I saw only two. I immediately looked around, wondering where the other two had gotten to. They were nowhere to be found.
      Suddenly, one of them flew from the nest, little wings flapping, as it landed in the grass, a few feet away. I watched as it hopped off into the taller grass surrounding my garden plot.
      Realizing the fourth one would probably do the same, I grabbed my camera. Sure enough, within minutes, out he flew! This one eventually made it under a bush.


      Watching the yard from the deck, I hoped to see mama Robin come and find her little ones, but the sight of a huge hawk landing in a nearby tree had me running into the yard. "Not the babies!" I vowed. Immediately five other birds flew from nearby trees and chased the hawk off. I was relieved. They take of their own.
      I have not seen the babies since. But I have seen mama and papa robin, who took turns feeding them constantly while they were in the nest, nearby with food in their beaks. I tell myself the babies are safe and the parents will feed them and teach them to fend for themselves and that they will make it out into the big wide world.

      It was sad to see them go. I hope they come back for a visit. Aunt Maureen misses them.
     

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
Coming Soon!   MauveOnTheMove.  My travel blog!
 See more photos at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Positively Spring Life

by Mauverneen


“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”  - Rainer Maria Rilke

      To think of Spring is to generally think of flowers, and trees bursting into bloom and grass becoming green again. And rain. It is a time of new life. Not only for the plants, but for the animal world. Babies of the animal world arrive in spring - calves and lambs and geese and squirrels and birds....
      I am waiting for the day the mama deer will bring her babies out very early one of these mornings to let them play in the open field. I drive to the park where mother goose takes her babies for a swim. 
      Here at the house a robin has built a nest in a rose bush that climbs the wall just outside my back door. I would never have noticed it except that I passed too close one morning and she flew out suddenly, scaring us both. I tend to give a wide pass now to the rose bush and the nest. I want Mrs. Robin to be comfortable and to hatch those babies. She does leave occasionally, to find food I suspect. When she does I have taken the opportunity to rush over and take a quick peek into the nest. At first it was bare - just brown twigs. Then, lo and behold I saw four blue eggs! Today I peeked again. I saw no blue, but something soft and feathery. I will keep you posted!  

“The bird dares to break the shell, then the shell breaks open and the bird can fly openly. This is the simplest principle of success. You dream, you dare and you fly.”   - Israelmore Ayivor

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
Coming Soon!   MauveOnTheMove.  My travel blog!
 See more photos at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Positively Nothing for Granted

by Mauverneen
It’s hard to imagine life without a lot of the things we take for granted. Transportation for instance.
 Late last summer I traveled to Utah to visit my oldest daughter and her husband, who had just moved to Park City. We spent a wonderful day in Salt Lake City viewing an auto museum, seeing a couple of  beautiful mansions, having lunch and visiting the Mormon Tabernacle, to which we made a return visit on Sunday morning to be part of the live broadcast of the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir. If you are ever able to witness that, do not pass it up.  It is both inspirational and awe-inspiring. 

But what stuck in my mind most was something else. Something that would have been easy to miss.

The Mormon Tabernacle is part of a complex also containing the Temple, an assembly hall, and of course a museum - all worth seeing. There are also some monuments and sculptures in various spots throughout the grounds. One such was the monument to the Mormon handcart pioneers. Those intrepid souls that crossed an unwelcoming, harsh land to establish a new city.



Here is the inscription:
"The Handcart Pioneer Monument is a tribute to the thousands of hardy Mormon pioneers who, because they could not afford the larger ox-drawn wagons, walked across the rugged plains in the 1850s, pulling and pushing all of their possessions in handmade, all-wood handcarts. Some 250 died on the journey, but nearly 3,000, mostly British converts, completed the 1,350-mile trek from Iowa City, Iowa."


They walked. Walked. 1,350 miles. With all of their belongings, and sometimes their children, on a tiny cart. 

Indeed it is hard to imagine life without a lot of the things we take for granted. Transportation for instance. 





As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.

However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!  

                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring has (almost) Sprung

by Mauverneen


        “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant..."   -Anne Bradstreet

So true. We are so anxious for spring because we are tired of being cold. We want to be warm again, to see sunshine. We are tired of shades of gray - as in the sky, the trees, and the mud. 

Its encouraging to see the grass turning green again, uplifting to see the dead-looking branches on the trees showing signs of life again and how thrilled we are to see the seasons first robin or that first spring flower!
In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours. - Mark Twain
Ah but mother nature is fickle and shy. Sometimes she must be coaxed into showing off all of her charms. A little sun, a little snow, a wayward robin, a little rain... Until at last, damn it, It really will be spring! 

Every April, God rewrites the Book of Genesis. ~Author Unknown

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.

However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!  
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Positively Chasing Rainbows

by Mauverneen



The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. ~ Dolly Parton


     I just think we could use a rainbow today. The weather has been bleak, the news has been bleaker.  
     There is something magical about a rainbow. It‘s beautiful and holds the promise of hope - whether it be that mythical pot of gold at the end of it or the promise that the storm is over.
      My youngest daughter recently told me her childhood memory of chasing rainbows. I have always been a photography nut and a particularly bright rainbow was in the sky so I picked her up, buckled her in her car seat and off we went. No doubt I told her we were going to chase that rainbow and maybe find the pot of gold and perhaps a leprechaun at the end of it.
      ‘‘What other mom takes their daughter chasing rainbows?’’ she asked as we both teared up a bit. 
Indeed.
      I think we all need to chase a rainbow on occasion. You never know what you will find; a glorious photo op, a bit of adventure, a treasure, or a memory to be tucked away that will, like a rainbow, make your day.
      “Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!  
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Positively Mardi Gras

by Mauverneen
     
      Life may not be the party we hoped for but while were here we should dance.  Not sure who to attribute this quote to but it sounds like good advice to me.


      Today is Fat Tuesday, or to make it sound better, Mardi Gras. Almost anything sounds better en fran├žais don’t you think?
      Today is Fat Tuesday, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of 40 days to make up for today’s transgressions and two weeks to St. Paddy’s day - just about enough time to sober up for another round of partying.



      While I’m not condoning excessive drinking, I am condoning putting a little fun and partying into our lives. Lent is a sober time and many people take it seriously; by fasting, giving up things we like for 40 days - sweets, cigarettes, partying - in the hopes it will make us a little bit better as a person because of it. With a little luck and fortitude, it will.
      But let’s not forget to take a little time to party - to dance. Because life should be balanced  in order to live it to the fullest. We need to take time out to appreciate the good times, it’s what gets us through the bad times - knowing there are good times on the horizon. Its called hope.  
 
     So here’s to a full life, and as they say in New Orleans: laissez les bon temps rouler!


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
 
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

 








Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Positively Positive

by Mauverneen




      This is the day the Lord has made; Rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24




         A new day - a new opportunity - sometimes just getting out of bed is a challenge. But each new day is truly a gift. One we too often take for granted. The photo was taken in Reno, NV where my boyfriend and I lived. One day we had a house fire. We spent the next month in an apartment. Yes, we lost some things but were so thankful no one was hurt. So thankful we had good insurance. And I never would have seen this sunrise otherwise.
      Yep, every day is a good day.
 
      When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.                 -Tecumseh


      And here is something just for fun. It is Positively Tuesday, after all! A little magical music - it is absolutely fascinating!     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUU8joBb1Q

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Positively My Valentine

by Mauverneen




      I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.  – Roy Croft
Isn't that a beautiful sentiment? I think that's what love should be. People bringing out the best in each other.



The Kiss - by Rodin
       Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love. For those who have a significant other it's a good day to be extra nice to that someone special, show a little extra love or appreciation, or treat them to something special. Sometimes we forget to do that in our daily lives, we get busy.
      And for those of us who are solo today - don't feel bad, or alone. Just think of the worst relationship you have ever been in and be thankful you're not there any more! And if you are lucky enough to have never been in a bad one - just look around - and be grateful.
         Valentine's Day may be for lovers but love comes in many sizes and shapes. There is love for parents, children, siblings, good friends, etc.

      “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” -Elbert Hubbard 


And you know what? We all deserve a little self love too. Don't feel bad about treating yourself to something once in a while.
     
      On my last trip to Sedona, AZ I took a little hike. Among the other people also out for a hike that morning was a man who daily sat out on a rock and played his flute. When he finished playing he looked around and picked someone to gift with a heart shaped rock. That day he picked me. He spends time shaping these rocks into hearts to give away - which he does every day. He said it was important for him to remind everyone he could that we are all connected and that we should all pass on love.  It's his way of spreading love and peace.
       "Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence'' - Eric Fromm

            Maybe today we spread some love. Maybe today or sometime this week we donate to something. Those red kettles and bell ringers aren't around all year, but the organizations are. Do I really need 5 coats? It might be a good time to pack up some of those nice clothes we never seem to wear and drop them off at a collection spot. Hand the guy with the homeless sign a bottle of water or a few dollars without being judgmental. Maybe he isn't homeless, or hungry; but maybe he is.

      For all of you out there who have someone you love, reach out and hug them. A good long heartfelt hug. For remember ... Love doesn’t make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.- Franklin P. Jones 
      Happy Valentine's Day!




As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!  
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Positively SMILING

by Mauverneen
     
   Everyone smiles in the same language. ~Author unknown

 What could be more positive than a smile! Very often we are drawn to someone because of their smile. There are songs about smiles, poems about smiles and dozens of quotes. Smile though your heart is aching; let a smile be your umbrellawhen you're smilin', the whole world smiles with you.  


      I've always been a smiler. As a child I was so shy I could barely speak to acquaintances let alone strangers. I guess it was my way of saying hello, of saying I'm not stuck up, just tongue tied.  Even now, as an adult, I find myself smiling at people I pass at the store, at the mall, in a restaurant. Sometimes they smile back. Sometimes they don't. I am not sure I understand why they don't. It doesn't cost a thing to smile, whether you smile first - or second. 


      There are things that make us smile and things we do to make others smile. We tell jokes, we make funny faces, we do silly things. Or sweet things. We love to see the people we love, smile. It means they are happy. And that is really all we want for them.
          Did you ever find yourself smiling when you were alone? Triggered by a memory, a song, a gesture from someone unexpected? Feels nice, doesn't it? This positively Tuesday I say we just try to pass on as many smiles as we can. And if someone gives you one, return it. It's happiness being passed around.


       I came across this guy on a bridge in Paris, looking like he didn't have a care in the world. I smiled when I saw the bubbles. He smiled when he saw the camera. Then he went right back to blowing bubbles. Both of us just a little happier. He had made my day. 
 


Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn. ~Author unknown

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!  
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Positively Planning

by Mauverneen


The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  - Saint Augustine

      Having something to look forward to is a great motivator.
      Last weekend I went to the Travel and Adventure Show in Rosemont - a two day wanderlust fest where I picked up a ton of brochures, ideas and giveaways to add to my already overloaded files of places I want to visit.

      Touring the many vendor booths from every state and what seemed like every country around the globe felt like a mini vacation in itself.  
  
      So, after filling several bags with books and brochures from all sorts of wonderful places, I am in the midst of planning a vacation or two. It's hard to decide where to go when one wants to go everywhere, but decide I must!

      “The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” G.K. Chesterton

       January in these parts can be a bleak affair. I recall exactly two half days of sunshine in the past three weeks. I would have to check on the accuracy of this assessment, but would guess it's pretty close. It's a perfect time to peruse all those glossy brochures filled with photos of sun splashed beaches, blue skies topping summer scenes of distant snow-capped mountains, and coat-less tourists sipping cool drinks on boats gliding along flower filled landscapes and quaint towns. Something to look forward to.
      “Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. Susan Sontag
That quote made me smile because that pretty much describes me. I have literally hundreds of photos, if not thousands. No. I know it's thousands. Capturing my experiences with my camera enables me to relive them again and again, and to share them with family, friends and anyone who reads my blogs. And hopefully to share some of the wonder and the pleasure I get from traveling and maybe motivate someone to take a trip - to somewhere I've been or to somewhere they have always wanted to go. Something to look forward to.

      “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain 

      I would like to think Mark Twain is right - people who travel for pleasure are open-minded. After all, they are going places to experience something other than what they see daily. To experience. I wish the whole world was open-minded and welcoming. I want to see places, and cultures and wonders, and not be afraid.  
   
 If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears. Cesare Pavese

      That indeed sounds like the best way to travel.




As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
 
                      and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com