A magical event

blogIMG_2049A beautiful sight.  That’s what some think while others moan and groan about it. Either you love it or hate it.

It’s the first snow fall of the season.  The weatherman warned us; he indicated Suzy Snowflake was dancing our way, tiptoeing as she traveled, dusting areas north of us and whirling and twirling into our area.

Last night I stayed up late. An intriguing and interesting good read held me in its grasp and I yearned to finally turn the last page to learn how it ended.  Already snuggled in, Papa was asleep. 

On my way to call it a night, I extinguished the house lights but before I went upstairs, I opened the front door and peered into the midnight darkness.  Was that white I spied beginning to cover the sidewalk?  I flipped on the porch light and saw Suzy and her cohorts dancing in the air and daintily lighting on the ground.

There truly is something magical about the first snow of the season, at least to me.  As a kid, I remember getting so excited when snow fell.  I couldn’t wait to bundle up with scarves, hats, mittens, boots, and leggings to run outside and play in the snow.

Even as an adult, it still thrills me.  Snow calls to me, “Come outside! It’s a wintry fairyland out here.  Hurry before I melt!”  I love to feel it brush against my cheek as it snows.  I love to watch it glittering in the sunlight.  I love to see how it transforms a bleak landscape of barren trees into a frosted wonderland.

The first thing I do every morning is open our bedroom window blinds and look outside to see what’s happening.  This morning the first snow fall greeted me.  I couldn’t wait to throw on some clothes and shoes, grab my camera, and head outside.

Later, as I spoke with an older friend on the phone she commented, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”  And I wondered if maybe that’s why snow excites me so much.  It serves as a herald trumpeting in the idea that Christmas is on its way, it’s just around the corner.

Whatever the reason, I love the snow.  It’s true that by the time February and March arrive, I’m ready for the snow to leave and spring to make its way known.  But I will enjoy the season of snow.  I will stop and take time to examine the beauty of it and yes, in this season of thankfulness, I will be grateful for that blanket of white.

I hope you enjoy my photos taken this morning when I ran outside to capture this magical event.  Tomorrow I’ll post more for Wordless Wednesday.

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?” ~ J. B. Priestley

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Speechless (snowy) Saturday

blogDSCN8093“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go”…….screeeeeeeeech…………..whoa, wait!  Christmas is officially 57 days away.   We haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet!  Back up the truck (or the calendar pages), we haven’t even hit the month of November.

But the scene which greeted me outside my house this morning enticed me to sing Christmas carols.  That’s because it is snowing here at Mama’s Empty Nest! A pristine white overlay cloaks the still green grass in our yard, not a usual occurrence for October here in my area of the state.  About an inch or so already accumulates on the maple trees that haven’t dropped their coats of pretty fall colors yet.  It’s an odd sight.

blogDSCN8103The weather forecasters predicted this, but I scoffed when I heard their report.  I expected maybe some snowy bits mixed in with rain, but not this

Not the ground covered with a fluffy white blanket, the outside world wrapped in colorless cotton, and a steady dusting of Suzy Snowflake and all of her friends continuing to descend.   

My house looks as if it’s ensconced in an unremitting snow globe, one where the snow never stops and settles.

I’m posting pictures.  I know it isn’t Wordless Wednesday, but for me on this 29th page in Chapter 10 of my Opportunity book, I am shocked.  Let’s just call this Speechless Saturday.

Oh well… “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

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blogDSCN8097 ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Sorry folks, January = Winter

blogWinter Time 008According to my local newspaper today, people are already tired of winter.

Apparently some are even praying for it to end.

People, buck up!  We’ve only had one official month of winter.

December 21 heralds the beginning of the winter season and today is the 22nd page of Chapter One in my book of Opportunity.

That means there are still two months left of Ol’ Man Winter since spring doesn’t usher itself in officially until March.   And there are only nine days left in the wintry month of January, so soon I’ll be turning over a new chapter.

On this bitterly cold (brrr – our outside thermometer read minus 7 degrees this morning!) but brightly sunny day, I take the opportunity to be grateful for winter.   Most people might think I’m crazy, but I relish the snow.

I even like frosty temperatures.  Cold weather invigorates me and I love taking a walk in snowy weather so brisk it stings your face and makes your toes tingle.

I love coming back inside the house afterwards with rosy cheeks and after shedding layers of outer garments, burrowing down under a warm, wooly blanket to sip a steaming cup of tea and watch the snow silently descend across the countryside.  Call me strange, but that comforts me.

So here’s my tribute in photo and poetry to January.  Even though this month has brought some trouble and trials, it still gives me joy.

blogDSCN0534The snow fell gently all the night.  It made a blanket soft and white.  It covered houses, flowers and ground,  but did not make a single sound. ~ children’s poem by unknown

blogWinter Time 041January opens the box of the year

And brings out days that are bright and clear.

And brings out days that are cold and gray,

And shouts, “Come see what I brought today!” ~ “January” by Leland B. Jacobs

blogDSCN0557Black are my steps on silver sod;

Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;

And tree and house and hill and lake

Are frosted like a wedding cake. ~ excerpt from “Winter Time” by Robert Louis Stevenson

blogwinter time 045 (2)Suddenly the sky turned gray, the day,

Which had been bitter and chill,

Grew soft and still.

Quietly from some invisible blossoming tree

Millions of petals cool and white

Drifted and blew,

Lifted and flew,

Fell with the falling night. ~ “Snow Towards Evening” by Melville Cane

blog0538I choose to be thankful for this beautiful season of winter.  Why?  Because it is God’s creation.  David wrote in the Psalms about it – “The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.  It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”~Psalm 74:16-17

Genesis 8:22 ~ “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

You can’t flow when you’re frozen

Artesian well frozen over

There’s snow business like snow business.

Seems like snow is on everyone’s mind lately and in front of our eyes too as the white stuff is making an appearance from the Midwest to the South and back again in my neck of the woods.

Cold weather has been a staple here, as it usually is in the winter months and that lacy-looking precipitation has covered the ground for many weeks.  A little snow squall is working its way by my house even now as I write this.

My oldest daughter lives in the Deep South. Snowflakes dancing through the air aren’t the norm there, but much of the south is currently blanketed by the flurrying stuff.  Daughter was slightly amused Sunday night when she texted me that her employer was closing down for Monday because of a “wintry mix” settling in the area – her first “snow day” there!

After the snow arrived, she was even more amused as evidenced by this status update on her Facebook page: “Seen in my parking lot: one guy staring at his snow-covered truck like he has no clue what to do about it, and another guy using what appears to be a comb to scrape his windshield. Living in the south is so entertaining sometimes.”

Of course, here in the homeland, hubby and I also sometimes chuckle by the frenzy snow evokes in some people.  Even here, the masses get absolutely frantic by the threat of a snowstorm.

However, that is nothing compared to the frazzled state we witnessed while we lived in the Pacific Northwest.  Drivers there would actually abandon their vehicles on the berms of the highways and streets…when there was maybe an inch or two of snow covering the road.

Last winter, we had a big dig-out after feet of snow was dumped in our area.  And guess what?  We didn’t starve, nor did we run out of toilet paper.  Okay, it did take us an entire day to dig our way out of our driveway, but we were on the road again by the next day.

Snow truly isn’t the end of the world.   And it’s actually quite beautiful if you can calm yourself down long enough to enjoy it.

Today on my travels with my work, I passed an artesian well that was frozen over.  What an amazing ice sculpture it made.  If you’re unfamiliar with what an artesian well is, here is a good explanation from wisegeek.com: “An artesian well allows water that has traveled through porous rock from a higher elevation to rise to the surface. This pumpless well seems to defy gravity because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock gets relieved when the water finds a path to the open air. For nearly a thousand years, people have drilled wells to drink this cold, filtered water that doesn’t need to be hauled up from the depths.”

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home in my hurry to leave this morning, so I don’t have a photo to show how eye-catching this sight was.  It was actually much more intricate than the picture I posted with this entry.  But you will have to take my word for it.

Observing this striking sight made me think about artesian wells spouting water up into the air for all to see and enjoy.  Contemplating thoughts about water always reminds me of passages from the Bible.  And as usual, an old song, “Spring Up, Oh Well” comes to mind.

“I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me.” “Spring up, oh well, within my soul. Spring up, oh well, and make me whole. Spring up, oh well, and give to me that life abundantly.”

And it occurs to me on Page 11, Chapter One (January 11) in my new book entitled Opportunity that I can’t allow that well to spring up in me if I’m frozen over like that artesian well I saw today.  The river of life that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior can’t flow out of me if I am stagnant in my faith.

I need to seek after Him through prayer, reading and studying my guidebook (Bible)  and sharing what I learn with others.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ ”  ~ John 4:13-14 (New International Version)

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

One could sit like this forever

blogDSCN7262All’s quiet on the western front.   Hubby and I live in the western part of the homeland and we were spared the gargantuan snow storm that blew through our neighboring states.

We do have a blanket of the white stuff; actually we’ve had snow on the ground for a few weeks now, but we didn’t get the blizzard this time.

So the weather has been calm here and now our house is quiet and serene as well.   The happy festivities of the Christmas season are over and for those few days we celebrated together as a family, our time was merry and bright.

Our Christmas spirit meter zoomed upwards significantly on Christmas Eve.  At first, we were all subdued and somber as we dined early because middle daughter was scheduled for the night shift at her hospital.  But then, she received the magical call stating she was free – staffed down and not needed!  We literally cheered aloud and immediately, our spirits soared.  It was like we were bi-polar!

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~ Burton Hillis (pseudonym used by the late William Vaughan, columnist).

We had some serious Christmas celebrating to do as a family!  The rest of the evening was lovely.  We laughed, we teased each other, and we followed our tradition of choosing a gift to open on Christmas Eve.

Later, perched in church pews at candlelight service, we joyfully ushered in Christmas Day at midnight with candles glowing, voices raised in carols, and the old country church bell pealing through the crisp, dark night.  Greeting our fellow believers with hugs and “Merry Christmas!” ended our evening on a high note.

Christmas Day found us feasting and cradling a newborn baby in our arms.   My nephew and his wife were blessed with their first child a few days before Christmas, a precious little girl – the princess.  (Read here if you missed why she is the princess:  http://mamasemptynest.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/continuing-to-give-thanks/)

Baby girl’s grandparents on both sides and my family of five gathered at my nephew’s house with dishes of food, plates of goodies, and good cheer eager to meet and greet this new family member.  And she won over all of our hearts; she is adorable!

After church on Sunday, we indulged once more with yet another home-cooked meal of our favorite Christmas food, spreading out the holiday to make it last a little while longer.   But now, since the plentiful presents have been presented and the delectable delights doled out, Mama and Dad are left home alone once more.

Middle daughter departed Monday morning for the city and her nursing job.  Today son set off for the next-door state and oldest daughter joined him for a couple of days.  She wants to see his new residence and the two of them will venture into the big, big city for some sightseeing fun.

This time around as the nest emptied out, even Dad got a little melancholy.  But they will all return for New Year’s Day dinner.

It was nice to forget about our troubles during the season of Christmas, spend time with our family and focus on the reason for the season.  For now though, it’s back to reality land, where there are more challenges facing us.  Charles Dickens’ character Ebenezer Scrooge proclaimed in A Christmas Carol, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.”

That is what we need to do – keep Christmas in our hearts all year.  “I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month,” wrote Harlan Miller in Better Homes and Gardens.

I think we can do that.  Instead of putting love, joy and peace in jars, we can put the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts where we can use them every month of the year.  So hubby and I are going to try with all our might to retain “that holiday feeling” as we face what the New Year has in store for us.  But most of all, we’ll continue to remember that we have a Savior who will never forsake us.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Snow Falls in the Country

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Welcome to my world!

I’m updating my blog, with a font named Tunga because it looks like “tundra”  and that’s where I’m living – in the frozen tundra!

blogWinter Time 048So I’m home today cleaning out kitchen cabinets because we are socked in with major snow & ice.  Winter finally arrived over here a few weeks ago.  We didn’t have any snow at all until January, but since then it hasn’t let up!

Yesterday we had a major snowstorm which turned into ice storm overnight.  What fun we had at our house this morning!! NOT!

Explanation #1:  First you need to know that our driveway is long – like about 150 feet – and goes UPHILL from the house.

When my husband got home from work yesterday evening, he got stuck coming DOWN the driveway.  Not a good sign!  So he got out the heavy-duty snow blower we have — it’s monstrous and sounds monstrous too!  He blew the driveway open as best he could, then shoveled his car out and finally drove it down.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter arrived home, a normally 45 minute drive home took over two hours, but she couldn’t pull into the driveway because her dad was snow blowing the top of it.

blogDSCN0533Explanation #2:  When the plow truck goes by on our road, it throws all the snow into the entrance of our drive, so by this time, it was shut with snow AGAIN.  So Dad tells Punky “just keep on driving!”  Um…where was she supposed to keep on driving to in the snow storm??

Add to all of this, we live in an extremely windy area, so the snow is blowing & drifting even though we have snow fences up along the drive to “prevent” that.  You get the picture…it was crazy.

So oldest daughter finally finds somewhere on our badly snow-covered road to turn around, drives back and manages to get her car down the drive and into the garage.  Whew!  Everyone is safe and sound in the house; dinner is finally eaten at 8:30 p.m. and then we watch the news to see that the snow’s turning to ice.  We will have more snow on top of that by morning.  YEE-HAWWW!  Welcome to our world!

Husband arose well before dawn this morning to yet again use the snow blower to clear the driveway. There’s something not-so-soothing to be awakened before the sun is up by a roaring snow blower! Oldest daughter also arose early to leave for work knowing the traffic and the roads would be horrible.   Then alas, she can’t get her cute little new red Mazda 3 (Zoom-Zoom) up the driveway.  Just sits there and spins on the crunchy icy snow.

She backs her car down; I stick my head out into the cold and yell “Want to drive my car today?”

Explanation #3: I am the only one with a all-wheel drive vehicle, my Subaru (or my Scooby-Doo as I call it), which is the only car that likes to just purr up the snowy, icy driveway.

So we trade cars, and as predicted, my Scooby-Doo just walks right up the drive and HOORAY, Punky-girl is on her way!  In the meantime, Dad, in his little Honda Civic, is STUCK!  And I do mean STUCK in the driveway at the bottom!  Can’t move forward, can’t move backward and his car is simply ENCASED in solid ice!

Explanation #4:  We only have a two-car garage, so somebody’s car has to sit outside! Lucky Dad!

So he shovels, he blows snow.  He drags out the rock salt.  Still stuck….I get bundled up,  go outside to see if I can be of any help.  Not really.  Then he remembers he owns tire chains (which he used when winter driving in the mountains in Oregon) somewhere in the garage.   He searches, finds them, puts them on…they fall off…he spins….he gets out…he tightens the chains…they fall off again…he finally gets them tightened well…he makes it out of the place he was stuck and pulls his car into the garage to thaw out, confident that he will now make it out of the driveway.

He comes inside, warms up, showers, makes phone calls to his appointments he’s missing – not to worry, no one is there at either place.  No doubt, they’re snowed in too!

So Husband goes to leave….guess what?? He gets stuck again part-way up the driveway, even with chains on!  More spinning, more shoveling, and finally he gets up the driveway.  HOORAY!

Mom now thinks today is a good day for staying at home and cleaning out kitchen cabinets!  In the meantime, it is still snowing and snowing and snowing and SNOWING!!!!  So I imagine we will repeat the scene above yet again tonight when Husband and Punky-girl come home from work.

Oh, the joys of living here in the winter time!  The snow is beautiful, of course, and where we live – out in the country – it’s just a gorgeous sight, really.  But having to drive in it or even just getting up your driveway is enough to make your blood pressure sky-rocket!

So for today, I’m glad to be at home, where I’m warm and dry and can just sit at my window and watch the snow pile up higher and higher, praying for safety for everyone who has to go out in this wintry weather.

Whew, that was a long story.  Think I’ll go make a hot cup of tea and get back to the cabinets.

Oh…and by the way….Happy Valentine’s Day!

©2007 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com