Bears, Legends, and Foxes! Oh My!

I have a lot of postcard blogging to get caught up on. I have a few moments while waiting in the pickup line for my little one to get out of school, so why not “kill a bird” while I’m at it. ¬†ūüėČ

Few things tickle my soul more than finding cuddly bears in my mailbox. Fran and Christine, two of my Love Notes pals, manage to keep my mailbox beary happy.

To add to my vintage bear postcards collection, Fran B. sent a wonderful (8×10) “giant post card” featuring a mother bear and her cub.

“Mother Bear and Cub Hiking, Yellowstone National Park. The fascinating picture of a mother bear and cub was taken near Norris Geyser Basin where the little cub received his first lesson in the art of entertaining visitors in Yellowstone National Park.” Haynes Studio Inc, Bozeman, Montana.

Fran was curious about the condition of the oversized postcard upon arrival, and as you can see, it was in pristine condition.  (The slight bend near the top was unfortunately from my transporting it in my over-packed work tote).

Like the vintage bear postcards featured in a previous post, these bears were shot by Haynes Studio, Inc.

Speaking of mother bears and cubs, Christine sent a postcard featuring “The Legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes.”

Sleeping Bear Dunes, National Lakeshore Park. “The beauty, the lore, the legend, the lakes and rivers, the forest woodlands and the recreational opportunities create an unsurpassed stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. This view from the top of the dunes shows lovely Glen Lake.”

In case you can’t read the legend:

[Native Americans] tell of a mother bear and her two cubs who long ago tried to swim across Lake Michigan. Nearing this shore, the exhausted cubs lagged behind. Mother bear climbed to the top of a bluff to watch and wait for her offspring. They never reached her and today she can still be seen as the “Sleeping Bear,” a solitary dune covered with dark trees sand shrubs. Her hapless cubs are the Manitou Islands that lie a short distance away.

So sad, but so beautiful.

I received the black bear below just yesterday. Christine was in Colorado, saw the postcard, and thought of me. How sweet!

Colorado Black Bear. “This Colorado native lives throughout the mountainous areas in the ‘Centennial State,’ but is seldom seen, due to its timid nature.”

When Eileen V, another Love Notes pal, posted an adorable fox postcard in the group, I swooned because …well foxes. ¬†A few days later, I found the foxes in my own mailbox–courtesy of Christine B.

Foxes by Amy Hamilton

This is such a fun, educational postcard.  My favorite is the Fennec fox. Do you have a favorite fox?

I’ll get to more postcards soon–when I can squeeze in a moment or two for scanning.

Until next time…Have joy!

 

Advice from a Polar Bear

I’m having another insanely busy Monday, but I had to drop by with a little “Advice from Nature”¬†Moominbrooke (on swap-bot) sent with some super-cute Winnie-the-Pooh mail [I’ll share the Pooh mail later this week].

Advice from Nature Products. From Your True Nature.

We can learn a lot from Polar Bears. The card reminds me of a couple of my son’s well-loved books that teach about various animals and the spiritual lessons we can learn from them. ¬†If we take the time to observe, we’ll find there are indeed lessons for us in the animal kingdom and in nature in general.

Do you have any “advice from nature” you can share?

Have a super-cool week!

Photo Walk: First Day of Autumn Sightings

I’ve been craving time with my camera, so yesterday I arrived at work 30 minutes before conferences with students were scheduled to begin and took a brief walk–camera and iPhone in tow. As expected, there weren’t many signs of autumn, but the walk provided a refreshing start to my day and a clear mind as I headed into the weekend.

My campus walks always start with the trees. The oaks did not disappoint with their gnarly trunks and roots. The fungus attracted my attention here.

Notice the resting ent?

I wonder how he got here from Middle Earth. Or is he a tree troll?

The Dogwoods have so many interesting transformations throughout the year. I’ll have to make a point of charting the changes one year. They’re showing signs of autumn.

Of course, the evergreen deserves admiration all year long.

It wouldn’t be the first day of autumn in Alabama without butterflies and pink.

It’s about to take flight…

A morning walk requires a squirrel.

A couple of bonus photos shot earlier in the week: One provides proof of autumn.

And a tree I encounter (almost) every time I take a campus walk. There’s so much to love and study.

As I’m reviewing these photos, I’m thinking about my older brother, Dennis–a photographer–and feeling a strong connection to him through our mutual love for nature photography. I’m praying him through a medical crisis and sending hugs and deepest love from the Deep South to the West Coast. I love you, big brother!

Love Inspired: Loyal Birds and “Fowl” Words

For a recent “Love Inspired” swap for the “A Thousand Words” group on swap-bot¬†Gale D., my partner, went birds and feathers on me.¬† The goal of the swap was to pair a love quote with an appropriate photo.

Gale settled on a quote¬†from¬† A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh:

Some people care too much.¬† I think it’s called love.

Gale does a lot of bird photography, so she sent me two of her favorite photos.

The first, a pair of Mute Swans:

“Mute Swans” by Gale D., grstamping on swap-bot

According to Gale’s note, the Mute Swans¬†“stay together forever.¬†It saves time and energy, and they produce more cygnets this way.¬† They make a great team.”

I found some interesting tidbits about Mute Swans¬†on Cornell University’s All About Birds Site. ¬†Here are some of my favorites:

  • Mute Swans are not native to North America
  • The swans pretty much mate for life, but will find another mate if a partner dies
  • Their reputation for monogamy along with their white plumage has helped establish them as a symbol of love in many cultures
  • The Mute Swan¬†is the “star” of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling
  • The swans are pretty aggressive (so give them lots of space)
  • The oldest known Mute Swan is 26 years, 9 months old

Gale also sent a pair of Canada Geese and their goslings.

“Canada Geese,” by Gale D., grstamping on swap-bot

Gale wrote that she loves¬†Canada Geese, but although they adapt around humans well, she hasn’t had much opportunities to get close to the geese. ¬†Ironically, she lives in Canada. ¬†This particular photo was shot in a cemetery pond.

There are a LOT of Canada Geese¬†on the university campus where I work. ¬†She’d have no problem getting up close and personal with them. During early fall, they pretty much rule the campus, even stopping traffic at times. ¬†That can be annoying, but it¬†is a pretty glorious sight to see them take flight¬†in formation.

During the second year of their lives Canada Geese find a mate, and like Mute Swans, they are monogamous and mate for life.

It truly is inspiring to find such “faithfulness” and “loyalty” in the animal kingdom. ¬†We often think so little of them, but we have so much to learn¬†from them.

Microblog Mondays: Time Out for Cute

I received many beautiful and meaningful postcards¬†the last few days,¬†so at the¬†moment¬†I’m torn between posting something meaningful and something cute.

Watercolor by Martha Slavin

“Cute Overload,” Watercolor by Martha Slavin

As you can see, cute won. Why?  The last few days were challenging, and I just want to stop thinking for a moment.

The postcard is a reproduction of a watercolor by¬†one of my new postcard pals, Martha. Martha is an artist and a writer.¬† The watercolor was inspired by raccoons that used to live under her deck.¬† She writes¬† that they now “just travel through.”

Isn’t he the cutest?

microblog_mondays

Microblog Mondays: Permission to Rest

Happy New Year!

Two¬†of my nieces shared¬†a meme from “Quiet Quotes” today–one on Instagram, the other on Facebook. The meme reads, “Raise your hand shamelessly if you have successfully wasted the first day of 2017.” ¬†I raised both hands because I did absolutely nothing on the first day of 2017.

Red-tailed Leopard at the Nashville Zoo

Clouded Leopard at the Nashville Zoo

I was fine with my utter slothfulness until night fell and sleep beckoned. ¬†Then…I started thinking about all the things I could have done.

However,¬†today has been super productive, and as I’m blazing through my to do list, I feel differently. ¬†The “wasted first day of 2017” led to a “successful” second day of 2017. ¬†I accomplished more today than I would have accomplished yesterday and today had I not allowed myself to simply rest. ¬†I work (hard)¬†constantly, often even when I’m on vacation. ¬†I earned the “day off,”¬†and the reality is¬†that all the things that must be done will be done when they need to be done. ¬†I have just about a week¬†left of my winter vacation, and I give myself permission to rest¬†even more if I want to.

What about you? ¬†Do you allow yourself time out–to do nothing–to “be” in your own skin without guilt?

[Note: This year I will be¬†participating in Microblog Mondays. ¬†The idea is to post a short blog every Monday–from one word to eight sentences. This one is a little longer than I intended, but “short” is relative. Right?]

Nature Photo Challenge: A New Song

Last week, my brother, Dennis, a talented photographer and graphic artist/designer, nominated¬†me to do the “Nature Challenge.” The challenge calls for posting a photo, on Facebook, I assume, every day for seven days and nominating someone different every day to join the challenge.

When I first read the post, I embraced it. I was tickled pink that my brother thinks enough of my photos to include me and¬†was also excited to share nature photos–my favorite! But…I’m not much of a “facebooker.” I visit sporadically, and even then, for only a few minutes at most.¬†I posted the first day and then forgot about it. Completely.

I don’t want to disappoint my brother or feel like a complete failure (a little dramatic, yes), so I am going¬†to share here and allow WordPress¬†to do the “dirty work” of Facebook posting.

I’m starting over. Today is my new¬†Day 1.

"A New Song," Original

“A New Song,” Original

I shot this photo Labor Day weekend in North Carolina. It took quite a bit of work since the front of the flower was positioned away from view and in the middle of dense foliage.

"A New Song," Millers Creek, North Carolina, September 2015

“A New Song,” Millers Creek, North Carolina, September 2015

I was inspired to work with the photo when Takiyah, a former student, mentee, and sister-in-Christ shared with me her performance of a new song entitled “A New Song.” ¬†Take a listen…

I’m¬†already singing my new song…

Wishing you a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2016.

Note: For a look at¬†Dennis’ work: