The fabric of my life

blogIMG_3805I write in our home office at my husband’s dark cherry wooden desk where our desktop computer sits.  When writer’s block grips my mind and my fingers stop flying across the keyboard, I let my eyes wander around the room at familiar belongings or gaze out the two front windows of our house onto the green expanse of our yard and beyond.

Doing so, I see and feel textures all around me.  That ancient emerald green second-hand chair – the one we paid a whopping $12 for at an estate auction – with its zigzag patterned fabric rests in the corner.  Not only does it present texture for the eyes but for the hand as well as I feel its nubby ridges of upholstery. Folded across the back of that chair, a woven blanket in various hues of blue, its texture also noticeable to my eye, reminds me of my daughter’s mission trip to Mexico.

At the windows, blinds with their slated ribs create another type of texture while the soft fabric draping those frames provides a different consistency.  Outside those windows, I spy the concrete sidewalk which I know has a slightly rough surface. Beyond that, spiky blades of unmown grass, leafy trees with uneven, rough-to-the-touch bark, and velvety smooth red petunia petals become visible.  Textures are everywhere I look.

And I can feel them as well.  If I close my eyes and run my hands in front of the computer keyboard, my fingers glide unobstructed over smooth glass that covers the desk top.  Underneath my feet I can feel the rigid, unyielding chair mat and when I step away from the desk, a plush, soft cushion in the form of carpet comforts my bare feet.

Our lives are full of textures – some visible, some we appreciate by touching – and I suspect that we take them for granted.  I can honestly admit that I haven’t given much thought to this concept before contemplating which photo to use for this week’s photo challenge (click here for that photo).    As I considered attempting to capture a picture or locating one which already existed in my cache, different ideas swirled in my mind about what constitutes texture.   

I kept coming back time and time again to the television commercial for cotton.   The touch.  The feel.  Of cotton.  The fabric of our lives.

Cotton has texture, and I like the feel of it.   It’s a natural fabric, soft and comfortable yet durable and strong.  If I were to pick a fabric to represent my life, I might choose cotton.  Yes, cotton would be a good choice for the fabric of my life.  The fabric of my life.   Think about that for a minute.  The fabric of your life.

A fabric does exist in each life.  It’s what we’re made of;  it’s our very own texture, if you will.  Some of us are sturdy and no nonsense with textures that are durable but perhaps a little rough.  Some of us are silky smooth and glide along through life, or so it seems.   Some of us are bristly and bumpy as we try to endure obstacles in our way, surmounting those hills and valleys of trouble.

I imagine if we had a choice, we might desire a texture that would allow us to skate through life on an even level effortlessly and easily.  But real life isn’t like that.  It’s not as smooth as a piece of glass, a perfectly laid layer of ice at the skating arena, or a swatch of glossy satin.  And it’s certainly not always as comfortable or reliable as cotton. 

Oh, we want it to be.  We want our life texture to be downy and comfy, cushioning us from troubles like carpet protects our feet from hard floor surfaces.  Then we could just sink into its security and envelop ourselves in its coziness. 

But no, life demands that we embrace our own texture that enables us to maneuver through whatever happens our way because troubles do come, the path is not easy or well-marked, and sometimes we just get lost.  And that’s when who we truly are comes to light – others can see the fabric of our lives.

Texture means more than just whatever meets the eye or touches the hand.  The texture of my life’s fabric is deep down, inside, the essence of my core.   It defines my beliefs, my choices in life, and my determination to give thanks in all circumstances.  For me, that texture began long ago on a roughhewn, rugged wooden cross when the Fabric of my life proved His ever-lasting love by giving His life so that I may live.   That is what defines me.  

What interested me was not news, but appraisal. What I sought was to grasp the flavor of a man, his texture, his impact, what he stood for, what he believed in, what made him what he was and what color he gave to the fabric of his time.”  ~ John Gunther, American writer/journalist 1901-1970


Short on composition but not thoughts



Texture:  n.  The appearance of a fabric resulting from the woven arrangement of its yarns or fibers. (definition from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

I didn’t have to search too far outside the world of our home office to capture this photo for this week’s photo challenge. I think this picture fits the definition, what say you?  

An old emerald green upholstered chair sits in the corner and it provided fodder for this challenge.  But it did more than that.  Yes, this old chair with the wooden arms and Queen Anne style legs, purchased at an estate auction 15 years ago for $12, prompts me to consider that word ‘texture’ as more than just a photo challenge, and I find I have something more to say about the idea.  But time is short today and many unfinished items still weigh down my to-do list.  And it’s rainy and frightfully dreary outside which just slows me down considerably.  I am in need of some sunshine for motivation!  

I hate to think I’m disappointing my readers – you know, those of you who visit Mama’s Empty Nest for more than just my photography (as amateur as it is) –  because I have been posting more photos and fewer words in the last few weeks.  But I hope to share my thoughts about texture on Thursday.   Of course tomorrow will be another photography day with my regular  Wordless Wednesday.   In the meantime, click on the photo above and check out that texture.

Linking up to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture today.


Finding summer love


Some days, summer lovin’ might be found cruising down the river.

Some days, summer lovin’ might be found in people and special events.

And some days, summer lovin’ can be found just chilling on the front porch with a cup of tea and the peacefulness of a lovely, quiet day in the country.

Linking up today with the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’


Is it summer or me?

blogIMG_1049Summer and I have not always seen eye to eye.  There once was a time when summer rocked my world.  I couldn’t get enough of the season.  But somewhere along the line, summer lovin’ became summer hatin’ and we actually became enemies.

When I was a kid, summer and I were besties.  I. Could. Not. Wait. Would count down the days until summer came beaming its sunshiny way in.  Warm weather prompted wearing shorts and flip flops.  No school.  Sleeping in.  Playing outside all day with neighborhood friends.  Big family picnics.  Lush green grass to sink into and run around in barefoot. Baseball games.  Splashing in the cold creek.  Bike rides coasting down hills with the wind rushing in your ears.  And enjoying all the Kool-Aid you could drink and popsicles you could eat before they melted slithering down your arm leaving a sticky trail.  And if you were lucky and Dad could swing the time off and extra money, maybe even going on a family vacation to someplace you’d never been before. Staying outside until long after dark playing hide and seek and catching lightning bugs in glass jars or lying on the cool, evening dewy grass staring at the smattering of shiny stars lighting up the velvety nighttime sky.

Back then, what wasn’t there to love about summer?  Yes, summer was my best friend and it dismayed me to watch it depart.    

Fast forward to my teen years.  Summer and I were still best buds.  No school.  Sleeping in.  Hanging out at the pool all day with your friends with the transistor radio blaring the popular music of the day. The smell of Coppertone and baby oil while toasting in the sun trying to acquire that sun-kissed tan on fair, freckled skin.  Long, uninterrupted daydreaming in a hammock under the shade of the apple trees while discussing love, guys, and futures with a best friend.  Loading up the car with a group of girlfriends and taking in the drive-in movies after the sun set or joining up with friends at summer carnivals, boarding the thrill rides and screaming your lungs out until you were dizzy with excitement while bright lights glowing in the dark spun around you. Staying up reading your latest favorite book until the wee hours of the morning when all the neighborhood lights were out and nothing could be heard through the open window but crickets and an occasional dog bark.

Summer, how I loved you and you were still my favorite season of the year.

“The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” ~Wallace Stevens

Even after jobs and marriage, summertime’s allure still beckoned.   Summer brought time off.   Picnics and bar-b-ques.  Adventures with family and friends.  And lounging by the pool, still chasing that elusive summer bronze.  

By the time our twosome became a family of five, I beheld summer through the eyes of my children.  Raising our three, we eagerly awaited summer’s appearance. No school.  Exploring.  Playing outside all day.  Neighborhood block parties.  Baseball games.  Sleep-overs. Wet swimsuits and towels hanging on the deck to dry.  And if you were lucky, a vacation might include a trip to the beach, soaking up sunshine, sand, and salt water.  Teaching little ones how to ride a bike and how to catch a firefly in the dark.  Showing them how to find the North Star and the Big Dipper and listening to crickets chirping. Falling asleep after a long day of mothering to the white noise whirring of a fan in the window bringing welcomed cool breezes.  

“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood
.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

But then came the rift.  Either summer was changing or I was.  Summer became a weary chore.  A long seemingly endless ordeal of scorching, sweltering days that no amount of ice water or air conditioning could quench and even longer, stifling, muggy nights when sleep couldn’t be found while air was so thick with humidity, the oppressiveness made me gasp for any hint of comforting relief.    

Summer seemed relentless and monotonous and the heat caused me to feel like I would literally burst into spontaneous combustion.  No longer did I look forward to summer, I dreaded it.  I counted the days till its demise and scoured the weather channel for signs that it would soon depart and my misery would cease.

“Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”  ~ Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir

So summer and I became enemies in my mid-life years. I couldn’t wait until summer was shoved out of the way by autumn’s cooling ways.   “Bring on the snow,” I would retort.  “I’m ready for winter.”

Summer, that once loved, slower season of relaxation fell from favor faster than plummeting temperatures in the middle of January.  In the ranking of seasons, it came in dead last and stayed there.

Until this summer.  Summer is attempting to lure me in again.  This is the first summer in many years that I have not had a job to rush off to or major work projects to complete.  This is the first summer in quite some time that the temperature has hovered near 80 for the most part or lower.  Nights have been relatively cool and the whirring of my window fan instead of my once-overworked air conditioning maintains good sleeping weather for me .

The yard is covered with lush, green grass, not yet browning or withering away in scorching sun like most summers.  Flowers are in abundance as is the produce from the garden.  Our summer fare has included lots of rainy days but pleasant sunny ones as well.  I’ve been able to throw open the windows and breathe good, fresh clean air and enjoy being outdoors in daytime hours without wilting from smothering heat and humidity.  And last night while talking with Papa, I confessed this thought that has been rumbling around in my brain for weeks now: “If summers were always like this one, I might love summer again.”

Yes, something is changing.  I just don’t know if it’s summer or me.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
~ Anton Chekhov