Do you see what I see?

blogDSCN0265A new day.  A new year.  A new opportunity.  Isn’t that what New Year’s Day signifies?

For some, it’s the opportunity to make resolutions perhaps to commence a healthy diet, lose weight,  stop whatever bad habit they’ve acquired, or change some aspect of their lives.

For some, it’s a new beginning, time to put a year of difficulty or sadness or trial behind them.

For some, it’s just another day….whatever.

On January 1, here at Mama’s Empty Nest, we usually take down the festive Christmas trimmings that adorn our home inside and out.

Papa handles the outdoor lights and carefully stores them away for next year’s use.  I pack away the indoor garlands, lights, and other Christmas festoons.  Together we will tear down the tree and place the ornaments safely in their packages where they rest undisturbed until the day after Thanksgiving.

There’s something about clearing out the reminders of holiday festivities though that brings out a cleaning streak in me.  I get the urge to purge when January rolls around on the calendar.

Once the boxes of Christmas are stashed away, I want to clean the house top to bottom, closet by closet, room by room, and de-clutter.  I’ve been this way for as long as I’ve been married.   In the last few years though, I feel the intense desire to undertake all of this, but don’t always possess the energy to actually accomplish it all.  But I try.

This yearning to clean up and improve my physical surroundings reminded me of this quote from my trusty old notebook:

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” ~Ellen Goodman

Isn’t that the truth?  As I walk through my house after Christmas is over, room by room, I notice the things that need attended to, items to repair, unnecessary fluff to discard or pass on to someone who could truly use it.

But how often do I walk through the rooms of my life as that writer suggested?  Do I examine my heart, my actions, my words, and my motivation as closely as I scrutinize my house?

I liked Goodman’s last premise, “not looking for flaws, but for potential.”   I find it as easy to determine the flaws I harbor in my being as it is to identify imperfections in my home that require attention.   But this year I want to look earnestly for potential in my days… yes, I will say it, the opportunities.

Last year, I opened my book I called Opportunity on New Year’s Day.  Today on this first day in 2012, I’m still leafing my book open to prospects, but I’m adding another aspect.  I’m searching for the potential for joy each day of this new year.  No, strike that – I’m choosing joy each day this year.

Yes, that’s it!  I am choosing JOY.  And I’m taking a clue from Dr. Seuss when he wrote, “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own and you know what you know.  And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

So it’s decided.  I’m opting for  joy.  I will examine each circumstance as it comes my way (and there will be many I’m sure!) and I will ask the Lord to show me JOY in the midst.

For years, I’ve claimed this scripture from the Holy Bible as my life verse:   “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Did you catch that?   Be.  Joyful.  Always.  Not just some of the time, not just when situations make me happy or conditions are right or surroundings are pleasant, but always. No matter the circumstances.

I know you might be shaking your head thinking, “Oh, wow, she’s crazy.  This is not going to be easy.”  You’re right, I know it.  But I’m still going to try and with God’s help and direction, with prayer and searching His Word, I’m setting sail on a journey of joy.  Who’s coming with me?

If you’re coming along, go back up and look at my picture at the top of the page.  Do you see the word “joy” like I do?  It’s written with sparklers on the right hand side.  It proves to me that all I have to do is look for joy and I’ll find it!

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Coming to a city near us

All last weekend, it felt like my family was in the movie “Madagascar”  because our theme song was “Move It.”

I felt like King Julian, that crazy ol’ lemur in the movie who sings “I like to move it, move it.  She likes to move it, move it.  He likes to move it, move it.  You like to…MOVE IT!”

blogDSCN7913If you follow my blog, you know that I’m not fond of flying anymore.  But in the interest of time, I boarded that magic silver jetliner which transported hubby, middle daughter, and me to the Deep South last Friday for a mission – to help oldest daughter move back to our home state, to the city near us.  [happy dance here]

We arrived safely (no problems or delays) in her southern city late Friday night.  Oldest daughter and boyfriend (aka BF) picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to her apartment, which was in various stages of disarray with moving boxes, suitcases, packing tape, etc.

A crew of daughter’s work friends arrived early Saturday morning and after a hearty breakfast from Chick-fil-A, (I’ve never eaten chicken in a biscuit for breakfast before, but it was good!), we started loading up the U-Haul truck for the trek back home.  MOVE IT!

I watched with tears in my eyes as oldest daughter hugged her friends goodbye and they had a crying moment.  I find moving is always bittersweet – sad because you leave good friends and memories behind, yet exciting as you venture on to a new chapter in your life.

blogDSCN7914All loaded and locked down, apartment cleared out and cleaned, we left the city oldest daughter has called home for the last four years with a caravan  – MOVE IT! – hubby and I in the U-Haul, daughters and BF in oldest daughter’s car, to our destination stop for the night.

BF’s gracious parents invited us to stay at their home, which also gave us the opportunity to finally meet them.   We were treated to showers, comfortable beds, and a delectable breakfast the next morning and the joy of meeting daughter’s boyfriend’s wonderful family.

Joining us were BF’s sister and brother-in-law who offered to travel back home with us to help unload.  What a blessing they were!  We packed our overnight cases once again, climbed in the vehicles, and hit the road.  This time we had us a convoy with the truck, daughter’s car, and BF’s car.  MOVE IT! 

blogDSCN7916After our several hours long trip, we arrived in the city near us where we unloaded some of daughter’s furniture and belongings in the apartment she will soon share with middle daughter and her roommate.   MOVE IT!

Since middle daughter will move out of the apartment next spring when she marries fiancé, we decided to take advantage of the U-Haul and move some of her furniture to – you guessed it – our basement for storage.  So once again, we loaded the truck with a few pieces of middle daughter’s larger furniture mixed in with the rest of oldest daughter’s belongings to store.  MOVE IT!

By this time, old mom and dad were starting to drag from all the physical exertion,  long nights, early mornings, not to mention all the hours of driving.   Our little caravan headed to our home in the country, where all of us (7 humans and oh, did I mention a CAT?) were so relieved and happy to be out of the vehicles.

But the task wasn’t over yet.  MOVE IT!  After dinner, we still had to unload the truck and cart all of middle daughter’s furniture, some of oldest daughter’s furniture, and all her boxes of stuff to be stored into our basement.  By then, it was dark, a little rainy, it was late, and hubby needed to return to work the next day.  Oldest daughter also needed to arise early in the morning to attend orientation for her new job in the city.  MOVE IT!

The next morning, Dad and Daughter left for work, and the rest of us lounged a bit, but not long because after breakfast, BF and his sister and bro-in-law needed to be on the road again back to their home.  MOVE IT!

After everyone departed, my move it energy depleted, I couldn’t move it if I tried.  I confess I spent the afternoon on the couch in dreamland and after a 3-hour nap(!), I realized middle daughter was conked out as well.

The only creatures at our house who seemed to be ready to move it were the two cats (ours and oldest daughter’s), but that’s another story for another day.  Today in Chapter 9, Page 15, in my book of Opportunity, I’m so grateful God granted us safe travel.  And I’m elated He provided a new job for oldest daughter in the city near us.  I will cherish the couple of weeks that she stays here with us in the empty nest until she moves into the city apartment.

But I’m still feeling the effects of ‘moving it’ so I’m headed for the couch…again.  If you’re feeling the urge to ‘MOVE IT,’ please don’t call me.  Right now, I don’t like to move it, move it, no matter how much King Julian’s little ditty usually makes me want to dance.

Copyright  ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Milestone Musings

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  ~ Psalm 100

The month of July, and it’s been July for 20 days now, has been making me meditate on some things.  I’ve realized that I’ve passed some major milestones lately.

Youngest child, who is definitely not a child but a very grown up man, graduated from college this spring.  Milestone passed: check.

One more birthday silently crept up on me and let’s just say it has brought me to the “down slide” half of the 50’s, kicking and screaming all the way!  Milestone passed: check.

Young adult children moving out of our home and into new and exciting lives of their own.  Milestone passed:  getting pretty darn close, give or take a couple of weeks.

Five-year mark of cancer-free living after that dreaded diagnosis.  Milestone passed: hopefully check to come after my next doctor’s appointment soon.

One year of feeling like an orphan.  Milestone passed:  at the end of this month, it will have been one year since my last living parent journeyed home to see Jesus.

Which brings me to the point of this entry, that milestone is hard.  That day is not gonna be easy for me.  This year has not been easy for me, but that is something we call life, ladies and gentlemen.  Life is hard.  Period.  But we have hope and a future as believers in Christ.  And for that I am joyful and I am grateful and I am going to sing — LOUDLY — praises to my King!

So instead of feeling sad beyond measure on the anniversary of my father’s physical death and crawling back into bed to cover up my head and wish the day away, which is what I know I will feellike doing, I’m choosing to celebrate.  I’m celebrating that my Savior died to save me.  I’m celebrating that my Savior has prepared a place for me in glory where I will be reunited with my loved ones.

AND I’m celebrating new beginnings and glorious young love at the wedding of my son’s friend that very weekend!  I will watch this lovely young couple begin their marriage with joy.  I will observe my son stand beside his friend as his best man supporting these two as they enter into holy matrimony, and oh what a day that will be!  This is the day that the Lord has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Blog Revived – New and Improved

Monday, 19 July 2010                                  

Seeing that the last time I wrote in this blog was back in the fall of 2007, evidently Mama either:

1.   hasn’t had much to say or

2.   hasn’t had time to say it.

I’ll go with the second because those of you that know me probably know I mostly do have something to say.

Honestly though, as I mature [read get older here], I have realized that I do say less.  I’ve been taking more time to listen to other people and that’s a good change.  But the best change I see in myself is that I am more cautious about what I say [read bite my tongue a lot here].

Maybe we do get wiser as we age after all?  Or maybe I’m finally allowing Jesus to be Lord of my tongue.  And mercy, it’s ABOUT time!

So back to why I am now writing in this blog deal again.  I started reading a friend’s recent blog and I find I enjoy and look forward to reading her words of wisdom and mirth.  And that has made me realize that I do miss writing.   It was once such a huge part of my life and it also was once my job.

Reading elsiephoebe’s blog encouraged me to write again, (thanks elsie!) but I didn’t want to go jump through all the hoops of researching blog spaces or actually starting a new blog, so hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to my old blog I go. (Editor’s note: I did decide to move all my old blog postings to this new site for me – wordpress.com)

I can’t guarantee I will find time to write every day, but I will write when I have something worthwhile to say.  I hope.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com