Blue Skies Smiling at Me....Nothing But Blue Skies....Could It Really Be?

Monday, April 23, 2018
Irving Berlin would have been smiling today because those blue skies were spectacular.  Isn't it funny that after a cold and dismal beginning to April, a few days of blue skies and non-frigid temperatures can do so much to brighten everyone's spirits?  It's like a miracle happened!

  It seemed that most folks took advantage of this phenomenon we refer to as 'sunshine' and got outside to do some long overdue yard work.  But retirement is a wonderful thing and unlike the masses who were hard at work, we had ours done and were able to escape for some road trips.  Saturday we headed to Hagaman with friends, Paul & Jeanne, for another great meal at C.P.'s Family Restaurant.  While I didn't stop for any photos, we did enjoy some great company and delicious food.  You really have to check it out!
Yesterday we headed to Grafton Lakes State Park, one of my Top 10 favorite destinations.  We tried going a few weeks ago but the winter entrance was still closed and covered with snow.  About 90% of the snow is melted now so the road was clear and mostly dry albeit riddled with more pot holes than usual.  We weren't the only ones who took advantage of the beautiful day so our normally quiet drive into the park was not quiet.  It was difficult stopping for photos along the road but so worth the trip.

Look at these buds...filled with promise!
Today, after enjoying a summer-style lunch at DeVoe's Rainbow Orchard with our besties, Chuck and Ann Marie, John and I headed to the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve to walk off our pistacio ice cream cones.   You can't get better ice cream for a great price anywhere and I'll be honest, I'm pretty sure I didn't walk enough to negate the calories of my baby-sized cone.  But the weather was ridiculously wonderful and we did have a nice chat with some professionally equipped bird watchers.  The Preserve is really lovely in the spring!

This of my favorites!!

Look closely and find all the sunbathing turtles...

Mama on her nest!

It's a turtle retreat.......

And since blue is beautiful beyond the's a little more blue to brighten your day!

Now if I could just convince these beauties to take up residence in the nifty bluebird house we put up....C'mon birdies, you know you won't get a better meal anywhere! I hope you got a chance to enjoy this string of great and overdue spring weather. I hear we've got one more just like it coming tomorrow. I'll take it and enjoy it and maybe even share it here on the blog.  If you want to see more posts featuring the Preserve or Grafton Lakes State Park, just check out my Directory under the category, New York.   You can find many more backyard bird posts under the Animal Friends category!  Thanks for stopping by. I hope you come back soon for more Life As I See It.

Part II -Do You See the World In Color or Maybe A More Monochromatic View?

Monday, April 16, 2018
So....after looking at the photos in my previous post....have you figured out yet if you see the world in color or black and white?  I'm imagining some of you are thinking I've lost my marbles because even if you're color blind, you still see in color, right?  So how can I ask if you see the world in monochrome?  Well, don't worry....I'll explain.....right after you look at the color version of the photos from yesterday's blog post.
Is this not the most beautiful scene?

Look close and you'll see a cemetery at the top of the hill.
This one was actually a different day.
So, what do you think?  Do you like the color better or the black and white?  Hard to choose for me because they're both pleasing in their own way.  For me, the color photos are warm and inviting, bright and happy.   The monochromatic ones are dramatic and bold, sometimes sad and dark.  They make a statement, but have an artistic feeling rather than an inviting message.  So what does all this have to do with how we see the world around us?
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to always view the world and their circumstances in the worst possible light?  These people are unable to see past their troubles to see their blessings.  Sometimes the people who view the world in the darkest light are not necessarily as hopeless or troubled as they believe and consequently portray.  Sometimes they're just negative, unhappy people.  On the flip side of that theory, sometimes the people living in the most dire of circumstances, the worst chronic pain, or the most difficult challenges are often the people we meet who are the most optimistic and cheerful.  I think that sometimes how we feel about our life directly affects and alters how we see the world around us.  It clouds our ability to see things in a positive light, and fills our view with shadows and darkness.  Of these two road....which one do you feel would be more appealing to travel on?

Have you ever seen the quote that says, 'Don't make a bad day make you believe you have a bad life'?  If you think about that for a minute, you'll probably realize that we all fall into that trap on occasion.  We have a bad day, a day where it seems nothing is going right.  It feels like the world is against us and Murphy's Law is in full effect.  Unless we're careful, we get caught in the web of our despair and suddenly find ourselves sitting proudly on our pity potty full of a hefty dose of 'Woe is Me'.  We are so overwhelmed by our temporary circumstances, we find ourselves viewing life through dark glasses, unable to find any ray of light - or hope.  Suddenly we're viewing everything in dark, dull, monochrome.  For most of us, that is a temporary state.  We wake up the next day and approach the new day with fresh eyes and a better outlook.  For others, each day begins and ends the same...shaded with darkness because they legitimately can't find that ray of hope or they are just so accustomed to living in the shadows, they don't even realize that life can look any different.  How we feel on the inside directly impacts how we see the world around us.  It's so important that we realize that and take control over our inner voice, our demons, and remove our dark glasses so  that we can view the world in color.  When we view the world with optimism, even the most worn out structures, the most barren landscapes become beautiful and appealing.

How we see ourselves influences how we see the world.
    -Gail Lynne Goodwin
The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.
-Barry Neil Kaufman

Stephen Covey once said, "We see the world, not as it is, but as we are - or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms."  We don't even have to open our mouths sometimes for people to see whether or not we view the world in color or black and white.  Sometimes it is obvious in our attitude, our approach to life, our acceptance of other human beings, just how bright or shadowed our view is.  Certainly we've all gone through storms in our life, times when it was impossible to see the sunshine.  We're regularly faced with obstacles that challenge our inner strength, our tenacity, our ability to see life as anything but utter devastation.  The idea here is not that these times won't occur, but it's to remind ourselves not to get stuck there forever.  This week I hope you'll think about this post and think about the people in your life who have difficulty seeing the world in color.  If you're one of those people, I hope this post will inspire you to readjust your lens and focus on your blessings more than your problems.  So many of you cast bright, beautiful light into my world, often in ways and at times you may not even be aware.  Thank you for that.  I hope my photos and inspirational posts help do the same for you.  Wishing you all a colorful, hopeful week!


Do You See The World in Color or Maybe a More Monochromatic View? Finding the Beauty In Both!

Sunday, April 15, 2018
I've often heard people talk about dreaming in color or black & white, but I can't honestly say which I dream in, can you?  Along that same line, I often notice whether the people I meet and get to know see the world in color or black and white.  I'm not talking about race here, I'm talking about peoples' perspectives.  I posted a few photos this week on my Facebook photography page (, all photos of the same view but with different color values.  One was black & white, one was the natural colors seen by eye and one a more dramatic, but cloudy representation all taken with different settings on my camera.  The drastic difference in these images got me thinking.....about how we see things, and how we color our own perspectives.

When thinking about what I might blog about today, and going through recent road trip photos, a bunch of black and white photos caught my eye.  About a month ago we were driving through Buskirk, Eagle Bridge and Cambridge - favorite back roads dotted mostly with old, worn barns, the type that lend themselves well to black and white photography.  That day I took shots of the same scenes in both color and black and white - mostly for comparison purposes.  I didn't notice anything dramatic when I did my initial editing, but today when looking at the thumbnails of the group, something jumped out at me. A message, an analogy of sorts.  If you are a regular of the blog, you know I often use analogies in my messages.  So, today I'm going to share just the black and white versions of our discoveries that day, and in a day or so I'll share the color versions.  I'm curious to see what conclusion you come up with when comparing the two and I'll share my thoughts in the next post.  So come along the back, dusty, dirt roads of  rural Rensselaer and Washington County and enjoy the monochromatic views!

I adore the natural beauty of color photos, but there's something striking and stark about black and white too.  I think most folks have their favorites. There's something natural about seeing old, worn, broken down barns in black and white, perhaps because photos of the old days were in black and white so these shots feel normal to me......that is, until I see their color comparisons.  Here's a sneak peak of one of them.....

See what I mean?  The color version has a completely different feel than the black and white counterpart above.  Stay tuned for Part II of this post when we'll examine the more colorful versions of these views and talk about how our view affects our attitude and perspective.  In the meantime, while it's not very colorful outside, it is temporarily precipitation free so take advantage of it and trust that warm temps and bright, blue skies will eventually replace this rainy, icy day!  Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It!

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