He proved to be a surprise from the beginning and he continues to be, even now.
Over 24 years ago, my husband and I decided our family was complete. We had two sweet little daughters and were happy with our life the way it was. A unit of four. Even numbers. We fit neatly and nicely in a restaurant booth. I had two hands which could hold two little hands safely when we crossed the street.
And then….surprise. I found out I was pregnant with our third child. We recalculated. Readjusted. Readied ourselves to become a family of five.
At my scheduled sonogram, we strained to see if we could determine the sex of our unborn child. But back then, sonograms weren’t as refined as they are now. A strong, beating heart was visible and we could determine a head and body but as the technician rotated her wand over and over the bottom half of our child, we couldn’t see any gender determining ‘parts.’
So we naturally assumed we were having another girl. Three of a kind. It fit with our family history because I was the youngest of three girls and my husband was the youngest of three boys. We were so confident our child was another sugar and spice and everything nice little sweetheart that we only chose a girl’s name for our soon to be newborn.
Awakened at dawn with substantial labor pains, we happily trotted off to the hospital leaving our two angels sleeping and in the good hands of my parents, who had traveled half-way across the country to care for the girls while hubby and I got down to the serious business of birthing.
This was my third child, I had pre-determined that labor would not be difficult. “I’ll just pop this little one out in no time,” I thought. Surprise. Labor seemed to drag on and on and on! At one point, I seriously wondered if this child wanted to be born. Finally after more hours of labor than it took for my second child, medical personnel wheeled me into the delivery room.
A healthy nine pound baby emerged. Surprise! “It’s a boy!” my doctor announced. Puzzled, I think I asked, “WHAT???”
Reassured by my husband that indeed I had just given birth to a baby boy, a son, I distinctly remember remarking, “Oh, he doesn’t have a NAME!”
Surprise. We bantered boys’ names back and forth for most of the day while Unnamed Baby Boy slept in our arms. And then….surprise again. My dad, who never offered much advice unless you asked for it, suggested a name. Not just a first name, but a full name – first and middle – and it was a good, sound, strong name. And so, Baby Boy was named by his maternal grandfather.
My little guy, this little fellow, who surprised us so when he was born on this day 24 years ago and is now a fully grown, independent adult, has never stopped surprising us.
Over the years, our son has surprised us with so many aspects of his life. Born of parents who had no particularly stellar athletic prowess, our son thrived in the world of sports – soccer, baseball, basketball, track and field. He determinedly gave his all and excelled, even setting track records at his high school and earning a championship finals medal.
Academically, he also surprised us. After a few years of elementary school report cards that only evaluated students with vague ‘grades’ such as M’s (meeting expectations) and E’s (exceeding expectations), our son attended a new school when we moved back to the homeland shortly before his fifth grade year.
When he brought home his first report card with letter grades based on percentages, he surprised even himself. He earned all A’s and remarked, “Mom, I didn’t know I was so smart!”
And surprise… that academic trend continued. Our son astonished us when he graduated first in his high school class as valedictorian, making the grandfather, who named him and had graduated from the same high school 68 years previously, so very proud. Deciding early to only apply to one college, which also happened to be difficult to get into, and being accepted shouldn’t have surprised us, but it did.
Our son has the zaniest sense of humor, another surprising aspect. He literally makes everyone in our family howl with laughter. Whether it is doing a believable yet hysterical impersonation of a dinosaur on the loose or arriving home at Christmas time wearing a tacky red sweater festooned with jingle bells and candy canes, he always makes us laugh, loudly and soundly. Aristotle once said, “The secret to humor is surprise.” Our son understands this philosophy well.
But even more surprising is our son’s character. Oh, we struggled with the same teenage angst that all parents and sons endure as he tried to assert his independence. I vividly recall the day in his college years that he firmly explained to me that I should not call him “my baby” any longer because he was a man. I remember feeling a little angry, a bit hurt, but soon I realized he was right and that surprised me.
Our son has always amazed us with two vital traits – his respect for us (his parents), for others, and also for himself, and his utmost love for God. Strong in his faith and loyal to family and friends, our son tries to be a friend to all. I truly believe he strives diligently to be a man after God’s own heart.
So this year, his 24th year of life as of today, our son has surprised us yet again by announcing he is ready to become a husband. What didn’t surprise us was his choice, a lovely young woman who he soon will take for a wife.
Happy Birthday, my beloved son. When God gave you to us to complete our family of five, He blessed us immeasurably. I love you and I’m so proud of the man of integrity you have become. Thank you for the joy, the fun, the laughter, and all of the surprises you have given us. No doubt, more surprises are yet to come.
This post on your birthday, this wonderful day in my book of Opportunity, is my way of surprising you!
“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.” ~ Charles Morgan
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
A line from the movie, A Knight’s Tale, is one of those quotes for me. Adhemar, the villain, assaults defenseless underdog hero William and pummels judgment on him, “You have been weighed [punch], you have been measured [another punch], and you have been found wanting [final blow]. In what world could you possibly beat me?”
Every so often, even though I knew better, I compared myself to my peers, especially when it came to writing. And sometimes I thought I just didn’t measure up.
I confess that when I log in to my blog site, I check my daily stats because statistics float my boat. Stats have been high recently, but when I analyze the breakdown, I see reality.
Most ‘hits’ on my blog aren’t for reading purposes; instead search engines hit on images used in my posts. Actual readers of my blog seem quite low compared to search engine hits. Even my Wordless Wednesday photos get more action than my written posts.
I’m a simple writer. I don’t write elaborate, flowery sentences nor do I use a myriad of literary devices. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m a very creative writer either and I don’t write fiction. That’s probably why I don’t possess a burning desire to be a published novelist. There are no fully-developed characters or intricate plots bouncing around inside my brain ready to burst forth into life onto a blank page.
I write about basic, uncomplicated things that occur to me from everyday sources and often from my faith. I’m not much of a humor writer, nor am I satirical. I find many writers today to be irreverent, edgy, sarcastic, profane, or politically correct. I am none of those. I’m pretty certain some people may think I write schmaltz – excessive sentimentality.
Early in my blogging efforts, I once received a caustic comment which I chose not to publish because not only did it insult me, it insulted the God I serve. The commenter accused me, among other things, of writing “drivel.” That person is entitled to his/her opinion, but that schmaltzy drivel that I write comes sincerely straight from my heart. If that makes me mundane, so be it.
I figured out my writing style a long time ago. Once upon a time, I sat around my college dorm room composing really bad poetry and short stories in an effort to prove to myself, my peers, and my professors that I really was a “creative English major.” I also wrote scads of papers about symbolism, archetypal images, and other literary terms for my classes. But those papers were forced because identifying those aspects didn’t come naturally to me.
I was one of those rare English majors who liked grammar. Grammar makes sense to me. Diagramming sentences is a breeze because it’s logical. Syntax, sentence structure, is like an equation, which is why my Structures of English class earned me an easy A while my fellow English majors (those creative types who saw symbolism in everything I couldn’t, while spouting poetry at the drop of a hat) struggled to pass the tests.
I often questioned why I even had become an English major. I loved to read and I enjoyed writing since stringing sentences together was a piece of cake. I’m fairly sure those were the main two criteria I used to decide upon my major.
While enrolled in a journalism class, I realized writing about facts came extremely easy to me and was so much more enjoyable than writing about symbolism in a poem. Just give me the facts and I can weave them into a story pronto.
When I was a college senior and getting weary of college life, my university initiated a Communications major. Journalistic writing, speech, and oral interpretation classes, even acting, were more my speed than trying to identify archetypal images in Flannery O’Connor stories.
By this point though, I was already scheduled to student teach and since I was one semester away from graduation, now wasn’t the time to change majors. I also did not want to incur the extra expense or time required to earn a Communications degree, so I settled for my B.S. in English Education.
But somehow, I just never fit the English major role, no matter how hard I tried. I weighed and measured and found myself wanting. No doubt I’m too literal, facts oriented, and a realist to boot. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading classic works of literature, poetry, and drama; I’m just never going to be the writer of such worthy works. And I feel it’s safe to say you won’t see me on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
My English teacher days came to a halt when I realized I just didn’t like teaching. So instead I found a niche, for a time, writing feature stories in a daily newspaper, editing other people’s works, and volunteering to write and edit newsletters for various organizations.
All of these many years later, I am a blog writer. I shouldn’t compare my blog to others, but sometimes I attempt to ‘measure’ my writing by ‘weighing’ it against Freshly Pressed blogs on WordPress, or writers whose blogs I stumble upon, or bloggers/aspiring novelists.
So give me the facts, ma’am, just the facts. I’m a college-educated person with an English degree who really just writes because that’s what I do to express ideas that come to my mind. My one shot claim to fame being Freshly Pressed was possibly the only experience of hitting the ‘big time’ with my blog that I’ll get.
My writing probably does not appeal to the masses, to those on the cutting edge, or to those who want to read about social or political issues of the day (believe me, I have distinct opinions on those but I choose not to publish them), or those who like to read particular genres.
I am a writer of life. My life. Real life. My blog is a hodge-podge of thoughts, ideas, and experiences about family and faith because those things make up my life and give me joy each day in my book called Opportunity. I hit the publish button in an attempt to share some of that joy, or insight, or opportunity to brighten another person’s day or give them something to consider.
And I believe I’ve finally learned to stop trying to be like other writers and just be me. I’ve weighed, I’ve measured, and I’ve balanced.
See that Shakespeare class I took all those years ago really did teach me something because I have never forgotten a line in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 3). The ill-fated Polonius, the King’s chief advisor/spy, gives fatherly advice to his departing son Laertes. “This above all: to thine own self be true…”
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
You may not know this if you don’t know me personally. Yep, I have an addiction. I’m dependent on sunshine.
Every winter, even though I do relish the cold weather and I’m crazy enough to say I enjoy snow, I start getting restless, weary, and downright grumpy come February.
I owe this moodiness to lack of sunlight. Winter’s short days coupled with dreary, overcast skies that usually accompany a good portion of the season here in my homeland seem to affect me negatively.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because I don’t require medication or even light therapy, but the lack of light – in particular sunshine – and even a lack of brilliant colors definitely makes me a Grumpy Gerta. Writing this post while seated at my kitchen table perusing a mostly brown, gray, and black landscape outside my window reminds me of this malady.
So every February, I anxiously await longer days, more sunshine, and whine at winter’s longevity, saying, “Bring on the color, will ya??” I first noticed my temperament became gloomy when we lived in the Pacific Northwest where the sunshine is minimal and the rainy skies continue for a good part of the year.
A wise advice giver told us to purchase a house with abundant windows, a home not located in a nest of those huge Douglas Fir trees that seemed everywhere. We moved there from the Midwest plains where sunshine abounded and trees weren’t as high as skyscrapers.
During our first winter (if you could call a season without any frost winter), I noticed the ever constant overcast skies and lack of sunlight affected my demeanor. When the sun came out, my world became rosy. I was a most happy camper as my mood lightened, my steps became more springy, and my general outlook brighter.
Six years later, we moved back to our home state and my hometown. Imagine my dismay to find out my neck of the woods (where winter definitely arrives) is also noted for lack of sunshine. In 49 years of weather records, our nearest city supposedly averaged sunny days only 45% of the year. Some experts claim October is one of our sunniest months, which explains why I love fall weather. And I LOVE sunshine! When the sun beams, I beam. It’s that simple.
So this week, it’s been rainy and dismal and drab and gray. Need I go on? Blah. The sun appeared to be AWOL and that made me tired, apathetic, and lethargic. Really, I just wanted to crawl back into bed yesterday because it was so bleak outside. And I didn’t even feel like blogging! Yes, it’s that serious!
But this morning gifted me little glimpses of sunshine literally and figuratively. Every so often, rays of light peeked out from behind the clouds and streams of sunlight flooded through my windows. Hurray! I started feeling more perky. I opened up my laptop, logged into WordPress and another little glimpse of sunshine poured into my day. Dor over at Technicolor Day Dreams blessed me with a comment announcing that she nominated my blog for an award — get ready — the Sunshine Award!
Sunshine?? I’ll take it!!! Gladly!! What a sweet thing to be nominated for an award that is given to “bloggers who are inspirational, and who have impacted your blogging or your life.”
Here’s what Dor wrote to explain why she nominated Mama’s Empty Nest for this award: “because she is “Mama” to everyone and writes luminous posts full of sunshine and hope – the perfect candidate for this award.”
Dor doesn’t know me personally; she doesn’t know that I LOVE sunshine. She doesn’t know that my goal is to spread some sunshine and hope into this dark world. But she sees that in my posts which sends rays of sunshine into my soul. Thank you, Dor! I awakened this morning thinking I had nothing to write about today but just one or two rays of light provided inspiration.
I’m happy to comply with the rules of the Sunshine Award. Heck, when the sun shines, I’m just happy to comply – period. So here goes:
Sunshine Award Rules:
- Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog. Check. See the logo, it even looks happy, doesn’t it?
- Answer 10 questions about yourself. Check. Q & A below!
- Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers. Check. The difficult part is narrowing down the nominations because a myriad of fabulous bloggers exist out there. My faves listed below.
- Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated. Check. That’s the fun part!
- Share the love and link the person who nominated you. Check. Dor, you’re incredibly kind and sweet!
Ten Sunshine Award Questions (and answers):
Favorite color: Yellow! Of course, the color of sunshine!
Favorite animal: Cat, namely one beautiful calico kitty named Callie
Favorite number: Eight (it’s a recurring theme in my life)
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Tea, hot or iced, hands down. I also like….you guessed it….sun tea.
Prefer Facebook or Twitter? I’m not on Twitter (probably because I’m too wordy!!), so I’ll have to say Facebook (although it aggravates me sometimes. But that post I’ll save for another day.)
My passion: #1 – God (He created the sun and gave us His Son!) #2 – my husband and family. #3 – writing, it does give me joy.
Prefer getting or giving presents: Receiving gifts is not high on my love language list, but I so enjoy giving joy to others with a meaningful gift.
Favorite pattern: Beams of sunshine slicing their way through the clouds (like in my photo!)
Favorite day of the week: Friday (it’s usually a day off, my catch-up day, my do whatever I feel like day!)
Favorite flower: So hard to choose!!! I vacillate between lily of the valley, lilac, and hyacinth. Bet you thought I’d say daffodils or buttercups because they are yellow! I like them too, but I love lily of the valley for their tiny, delicate blooms, lilac and hyacinth for their lovely fragrance.
And now it’s time to pass the torch of sunshine to my fellow, inspirational bloggers listed in no particular order but as they came to mind. Thank you all for sending a little light and sunshine into my blogging world.
I must apologize for two things though. First, I’ve mentioned several of these bloggers before (I can’t help it, they are my favorites!!) and I haven’t had much free time to seek out a lot of new blogs to read. Second, if you’ve already received this award, I’m sorry, but you are my sunshine and you deserve to be recognized again!
- Grace For My Mess I always find rays of sunshine at Jana’s blog as she writes about her faith and family, spreading the light of our Savior to all who read her posts.
- Homestead Ramblings HR was one of my very first contacts in the blogging world and she has become one of my dearest friends. Her insights inspire me and are illuminating as well.
- Georgette Sullins Blog Another blogger that I’ve come to think of as a dear friend. Her life stories never fail to intrigue me and make me smile. Smiling is sunshine for the soul.
- My Wife Doesn’t Think I’m Funny His wife may not think this guy is funny, but I think he’s hysterical. His posts always make me laugh and not being much of a humor writer myself, I admire that about him.
- Coming East Simply put, Susan’s posts are interesting and well-written.
- Seeing Beauty I recently stumbled upon this young writer and immediately sensed a beautiful soul, one who serves others in a far-off land.
- Stories About My Life, 92% True Jimmy keeps me updated on what happened in the 80’s (the ‘lost’ decade I can’t remember because I was too busy giving birth and raising three kids!) as he writes nostalgic stories for his family but manages to amuse the rest of his readers, me included.
- Big Happy Nothing Amiable, Amiable just exudes fun and just like we need sunshine, we all need a little fun in our lives too!
- Minding My Nest With that common theme of nests in mind, I enjoy reading Kelly’s journey coping with her “not so empty nest.” She fills her nest and blog with great pictures, awesome recipes, and creative craft ideas.
- These Days of Mine A day without Dianna’s blog is like a day without sunshine.
- Inspired Visions I’m always inspired by this blogger’s visions which are her wonderful photographs.
- Montana Outdoors Even when this talented photographer posts pictures of snow and ice, it warms my heart. He’s a down to earth, homespun kind of guy, one you’d be happy to call your friend.
Today in my Opportunity book, I feel like I’ve been transported to sunny California. The sun is shining outside and in my heart of joy, I’m walking on sunshine.
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
You know what would make me happy on Valentine’s Day? Not a big old pink satin heart-shaped box of chocolates, not a gigantic bouquet of red roses, not even a diamond necklace. (But don’t tell my husband in case he’s going to surprise me!)
Nope. A mailbox full of good mail. Mail delights me. And a mailbox full of valentines would make me squeal with joy on this day of love in my book called Opportunity.
I’m not talking email, but good old fashioned letters sealed in envelopes, letter or business size; addressed to me; adorned with one of a myriad of stamp designs; and delivered to my country mail box by my faithful mailperson.
I’m not a particularly ardent fan of Dilbert, created by cartoonist Scott Adams. But his cartoon in which Dilbert announces, “I get mail; therefore I am,” resonates with me. Yes sir, Dilbert, I so get the memo on that one and totally identify with your philosophy, even if you are being sarcastic.
As long as I can remember, getting mail has been a significant aspect of my day. I have always been enchanted by receiving mail and Christmas time, when my mailbox gets stuffed with cards from friends near and far, sends me into sheer bliss. I’ve actually tussled with family members over who gets to open the Christmas cards each day, and I’m a little ashamed to admit I want to be first!
Getting mail is a daily ritual I don’t like to miss, whether it’s stopping by my mailbox on my way home from the office or walking up my long, gravel driveway to retrieve the mail on my day off. Want to make me giddy with glee? Put something in the post for me!
What caused this quirky facet of my personality? How did receiving mail become such a priority in my life? I’m not certain, but I can remember as a very young child asking my parents every day if there was any mail for me. Sadly, the answer was always no until one miraculous day.
I can honestly recall the very first time I ever received mail addressed only to my 4-year-old self. That day was a day like no other. It was a day – actually Valentine’s Day – when the universe seemed to acknowledge that I existed. It was such a monumental occasion that I still remember – even now – the feeling I encountered when my mom uttered the magical words, “You’ve got mail!”
A captivating communiqué just for me! Charming correspondence addressed to me! Exciting epistle delivered to me! It was a phenomenal moment.
The envelope was large and my name and address were written on it in strong, sure handwriting that looked familiar – distinguished handwriting that I would discern and recognize as I got older. On the right hand corner of the envelope was a 4-cent stamp. (Yep, it only cost four cents to send a letter back then.) Inside that envelope was a comical greeting card with a crazy cartoon cat. The card was a Valentine and it was signed, “Love, Your Daddy.”
Yes, I had an amazing father, whom I loved and cherished, and he made me feel very special. And that very first piece of mail he sent to me was, and still is, a treasure. Over 50 years later, I still possess that piece of mail, envelope and all, preserved in my memento box.
What makes me disheartened today is that people don’t send mail like they did in the past. Letters and cards don’t magically arrive in my mailbox on a daily basis. Instead there are unwanted advertisements, unsolicited requests for monetary contributions for causes or political campaigns, bills (there’s always lots of those), or an occasional catalog.
The crusade to perform all your communication electronically seems to have won the day for most people. So tell me, what will a little girl save in her memory box? Will she really remember that one time her daddy sent her an email or a text message?
As often happens, my mind turns to spiritual thoughts as I write this. Wouldn’t it be amazing, I think, to get mail from God?
You open your mail box to discover a brilliantly luminous envelope addressed in your name and written in exquisite gold filigree lettering. Turning the envelope over, you get a whiff of the most fragrant sealing wax on the back, embossed with “I AM.”
You carefully slit open the envelope to find the most beautifully textured, translucent piece of vellum your hands have ever touched. Unfolding it, your eyes fall upon these words, “My Dearest Daughter (or Son) …”
You can’t wait to behold what this magnificent missive, this lustrous letter has to impart to you.
Eagerly you continue reading, “I have known you and loved you even before I created you. Why do you think I have never ‘sent’ you anything before this letter? I sent you my love and faithfulness (Psalm 57:3). I sent you my one and only Son, Jesus Christ, so you may have eternal life. (John 3:16) I sent you the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to teach you all things and remind you of everything Jesus said. (John 14:26) And I have sent you my living and holy Word to read for understanding and guidance. Dear beloved one, I send you ‘mail’ every day. All you have to do is have faith, believe in me, communicate with me in prayer and read my daily mail. Love beyond measure, Your Eternal Father God.”
You’ve got mail. All you have to do is open up your mailbox (your Bible) to find it. On this day and everyday, God sends His love in the post. And that’s the best Valentine we could receive.
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
(Written with excerpts from a 2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com post)
He was born in a one-room log cabin over 200 years ago on February 12, 1809 at Sinking Spring Farm in Kentucky. His name was Abraham Lincoln, son of Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. He became the 16th President of our country and led our nation through one of the most difficult times in its history.
I’m not certain why I’ve always been fascinated by this tall, gaunt man of the past. Back in the day, we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday across our country not lumping him in with all the rest of our Presidents — good and not so good — on President’s Day.
As a child, I remember being excited about Lincoln’s birthday at school and I read much about this American history icon and eagerly heralded him as my favorite President. Even after all these years, he’s still my favorite.
Lincoln experienced several tragedies starting with the loss of his mother who died when he was nine. His older sister died giving birth, and later a woman, who he was romantically interested in, also passed away.
After a couple of broken engagements, he eventually married Mary Todd. Together they had four sons, but only the oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, lived to adulthood.
History books report that both parents struggled with the deaths of their children and Abraham suffered from “melancholy,” what doctors today would diagnose as clinical depression.
Lincoln’s life ended tragically. While attending a play at the Ford Theatre in Washington with his wife Mary at his side, Lincoln was shot, mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth and later died on April 15, 1865.
Many years ago, I saw Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC and I just recently read that a Center for Education and Leadership opens there this month, Lincoln’s birth month, “that will explore the lasting effect Abraham Lincoln’s presidency has had on our country.” I’m putting that on my “to see” list for the next time we venture to our nation’s capital.
I’ve visited a few other historical spots pertaining to Lincoln’s life. Our oldest daughter lived in the South for a few years. One fall, on our way to visit her there we drove through Kentucky, Lincoln’s birth state, and decided to visit a spot I longed to see – Abraham Lincoln’s birth place, a National Historical Park.
The photo at right is the memorial that was built over Lincoln’s birthplace, a log cabin. The photo above left is the spring for which the farm, Sinking Spring, was named.
I’ve also visited Gettysburg, PA several times and have actually stood in the bedroom of the David Wills House where Lincoln finished his Gettysburg Address.
I was just a teenager when I visited that spot, but I can still recall the sense of wonder I had just thinking that Lincoln stayed in that room considering what words he would add to finish his famous speech.
My husband is a devout history buff and we’ve visited many Civil War battlefields. At each of them, I’ve paused and thought about the hardships and the tremendous responsibility Lincoln endured while leading a nation at war with itself.
I often wondered if faith sustained him during the many difficult experiences of his life. From what I’ve read, Lincoln never actually belonged to any particular church, but he had a strong faith in God. He is quoted as having said, “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
His childhood family attended what was called a “Separate Baptist” church where high moral standards were preached, including the opposition of slavery. He was mostly self-educated and loved to read. No doubt, the Holy Bible was one of the books he devoutly read because he often quoted the Good Book.
One example I’ve found is written in a letter from Lincoln to George Ide and others, dated May 30, 1864. He penned this sentence, citing a verse from Genesis 3:19: “To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself, that ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,’ and to preach therefrom that, ‘In the sweat of other men’s faces shalt thou eat bread,’ to my mind can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity.”
I understand that he was referring to slavery here, but I can’t help but think that perhaps our modern day politicians should take note of what Lincoln had to say about living off others’ hard work when they consider the direction our country should take.
When speaking about the great war our country was battling, Lincoln said, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
I truly think Lincoln was one of the greatest Presidents our country has ever seen. And again, I believe that if we studied history a little deeper and actually learned our lessons from the past, we’d be in a better place today.
I’d even go so far as to suggest that our current politicians and those who are seeking election this year who truly want to serve us - we, the people - would fulfill their roles well if they took heed from some of Lincoln’s thoughts:
- “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” ― Abraham Lincoln
- “We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” – Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Happy Birthday, President Lincoln. Honestly, in my eyes on this day in my book called Opportunity commemorating your life, you’re the best.
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
Something miraculous happened the other night while I slept.
Someone sprinkled diamonds across my lawn!!
I know it sounds crazy, but while I snoozed and slumbered, cozy and snuggled warmly under my own mama’s hand-made quilt, next to my husband, who also had blissfully entered dreamland, someone crept into Mama and Papa’s empty nest yard and spread a glittering array of diamonds!
Some may surmise it was Suzy Snowflake or even Jack Frost who left this amazing gift. I suspect it was collaboration between the two of them – snow meeting frost. But I know who the Mastermind behind this gift truly is.
Snowflakes flurried the other day spreading their white, cottony blanket over our surroundings. Grass completely covered, trees flocked, but roadways remained open and passable. As evening approached and the sun journeyed its way to the other side of the world, the temperature dropped and while it didn’t actually create ice, it became frosty and a little slippery outside.
Tired from our day’s work, hubby and I settled down for our rest, expecting to see yet another winter’s day in the morning. Upon awakening, I checked the weather report (our ‘Local on the 8’s’ via The Weather Channel) to see what the day would bring. Strong sunlight already streamed in our bedroom windows, forcing its way under the unopened blind slats to demonstrate its might.
The forecast called for no expected additional snowfall, and I quickly prepared to leave for work. I backed my vehicle out of the garage and immediately the sun blinded my vision, so I donned by trusty sunglasses. About halfway up our long driveway, I suddenly stopped my car. Stunned. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I tore off the sunglasses and reached for my camera.
My yard sparkled. My yard glistened. My yard actually glittered! I felt as if this quote from an American motivational writer had literally come true - “You are, at this moment, standing right in the middle of your own ‘acres of diamonds.’” ~ Earl Nightingale
Diamonds! My two and a quarter acre yard literally seemed effervescent. Brilliant, intense sunlight beamed on the lustrous, frosted snow and created a dazzling effect. I paused in my car and simply was astonished viewing the array laid out before my eyes.
I tried to capture this incredible sight with my point and shoot digital, but the photo I hoped to seize eluded me. So my feeble attempt to describe this scene with words is the best I can accomplish.
Now before you question why I was so bedazzled by sunlight streaming on my snow-covered yard, let me explain that snow is no stranger to me. I grew up here in the North where snow is an ever constant aspect of winter.
Simply put, winter equals snow in my point of view. Deep, piled up forts of snow, dollops of snowy landscapes are normal in my neck of the woods. Snow storms, snow squalls, whiteouts, flurries, what have you, I’ve seen lots of snow in my lifetime.
But two days ago in my book of Opportunity, snow stopped me in my tracks. This frosted over snow reclining on my grass captured and imprisoned the sun’s luminous rays while creating gleaming gems seemingly deposited every inch or two across my yard. It seemed like I could venture out into the vastness of white and pluck some radiant diamonds from the ground.
Either I have never viewed such a sight before, or in my hurry and haste, I have never taken notice. Standing outside my car, aiming my camera at this magnificent miracle for the eyes to behold, the warmth of the sun kissed my face even while the cold wind whipped my hair into my eyes and stung, yet joy leapt in my heart. Literally.
The words of an old John Denver song come to my mind as I write this. “Some days are diamonds. Some days are stones. Sometimes the hard times won’t leave me alone. Sometimes the cold wind blows a chill in my soul. Some days are diamonds, some days are stone.”
Hard times befall every one of us humans. Just this week, my heart wrenched at hearing of misfortunes and trials people I know are enduring. They’re experiencing days that seem made of stone when the cold winter wind blows chill through their souls.
But our days don’t have to be stone days, even during the difficulties of this life on earth. See the Mastermind, who granted me sight to see His gift strewn over my yard, promises us diamonds for stones. He’s always there to care, to hold us up, to see us through, but we must stop, pause, acknowledge His presence, seek His help, and fully rely on Him.
Jesus, our gift more precious than diamonds, is the living stone spoken of in 1 Peter 2: 4-6. “As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…For in Scripture it says: ‘See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’”
Jesus takes my days filled with stones and turns them into diamond days. So when I feel burdened, like I am weighed down with the heaviest boulder, I want to choose joy remembering that Jesus promised me He would always be with me through every moment of life. Just as He promises to be with you if you believe in Him.
“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” ~ Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:20, King James Version
The diamonds strewn across my front yard reminded me.
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com
Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com