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
If happiness were measured by how much the sun was shining, in my world today it would be blindingly bright.
The last several months have been a bit of a trial for us here at Mama’s Empty Nest, not unbearable just a time of uncertainty. We’ve considered much, reflected more, and have diligently sought God’s guidance as we faced a period of insecurity. Through it all, hubby and I have tried to seek God’s will, petitioned Him in prayer and waited….and waited.
We’ve praised and thanked God the Father for the provisions He provided for us and how He continued to supply our needs during our bit of a trial. We’ve held tightly to our faith and scripture from 1 Peter 5:7 has been especially comforting to me: “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.”
And just like that first beaming ray of sunshine thrust downward from the sky piercing its way through the dark and ominous clouds of a rainstorm, our long-awaited answers to prayer arrived this week, not just one answer but two!
American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Just as there comes a warm sunbeam into every cottage window, so comes a love-beam of God’s care for every separate need.”
Today, on this 10th page of my book of Opportunity in Chapter 7, there’s not just a warm sunbeam shining in our country home cottage window. Instead I feel like my entire home is ablaze with sunshine – a beacon of light – as God, maker of heaven and earth, has poured blessings upon our heads.
For most of this year, my husband has been unemployed. There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, encouragements and disappointments as he sought another position. In a period of time that can be devastating and demoralizing, I can honestly say – in our 33 years of marriage – I have never seen my husband stronger.
Instead of embracing defeat, he embraced our Savior Jesus Christ more than ever through reading the Word and devout prayer, through servanthood to others, and his willingness to help those in more dire need than ourselves.
I believe God has blessed my husband for his steadfastness and faith, for his total reliance on Him, and for his thorough self-examination identifying attitudes and thoughts he needed to change. Just this week, my husband was offered a job. Not just any job, but a job that he is excited about, an emotion he hasn’t experienced when it comes to work for a very long time.
On the heels of that sunbeam of joy that radiated down over us, our oldest daughter flew in for a job interview in our nearby city. She truly loves her current job and employer in the Deep South, but after four years of living in that area, her heart tells her she doesn’t want to stay there any longer. She recently expressed her desire to live closer to our family, a prayer desire Mama and Papa have lifted to the Father for quite some time.
After a promising phone interview, a prospective employer asked her to fly in for a face-to-face. Again joy permeated through me like the warmth of a sunbeam when our daughter was offered a new job right here in our city! Celebration reigned at our house this weekend!
This morning at o’dark thirty, Papa and I drove our beloved eldest to the airport for her early morning flight back south, where she won’t reside much longer. This time, the farewells at the terminal weren’t melancholy, they were jubilant as we look forward to the future.
The sun started rising as we headed home afterward. As dawn began to break, the old Sunday School song, “I’ll Be a Sunbeam,” came to my mind.
“Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for Him each day,
In every way try to please Him, at home, at school, at play.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam, I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.
I will ask Jesus to help me to keep my heart from sin,
Ever reflecting His goodness, and always shine for Him.
I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus; I can if I but try;
Serving Him moment by moment, then live with Him on high.”
That song echoed through my mind while I tried to stay awake as we entered a tunnel on our way from the airport into the city. As you exit this particular passageway, you are treated to a full view of our beautiful city. The sight of it never ceases to inspire awe in me.
This morning, upon exiting the tunnel, another awe-inspiring sight revealed itself – the gorgeous morning sun, rising up like a gargantuan round orb of luminous orange-red. Its light blinded me as it perched perfectly between two sentinel skyscrapers, slowly ascending into the morning sky, and I chastised myself again for not grabbing my camera before I left the house. It truly was a breath-taking, beautiful sight and I gasped, then said to hubby, “Wow! Look at that!”
A scripture in Judges 5:31 came to my mind: “So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”
As I squinted into the sun’s radiance, I thought, “How could we ever appreciate the sun if we never had night?”
Likewise, how could we ever appreciate the blessings if we never endured trials? How could we appreciate life’s happiness if we never experienced life’s storms?
Jane Porter, a Scottish novelist in the 1800’s, once wrote: “Happiness is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray. When it strikes a kindred heart, like the converged light upon a mirror, it reflects itself with the redoubled brightness. It is not perfected until it is shared.”
Happiness, like sunbeams, are not perfected unless they are shared, and I think that’s true about faith as well. That’s why I must share my faith in Jesus Christ with you in hopes that you too might want to be a sunbeam for Him.
All day long yesterday I just could not stop singing and I wasn’t even singing Irish songs!
Instead this Beatles tune firmly entrenched itself in my mind and I either sang or hummed it all day:
“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right.
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here,
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right.
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces,
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here,
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right.
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting,
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear,
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right.
It’s all right.”
Gloriously sunny skies greeted me upon awakening and good old Mr. Sun hung around the entire day warming up our little 2 ½ acres significantly – bringing me hope that spring really IS on its way! My mood altered and I just felt good – rejuvenated.
Signs of new life bubbled up to the surface at our country house just in the last couple of days. Perky yellow and purple crocuses bloomed and more are popping up out of the soil today. The day lilies are also poking their little heads up after a long winter’s nap.
With the time change last weekend, it is staying lighter each evening as our days get longer. And I love sunshine! I love it so much I had to shoot the picture at the top of this post showing you the beautiful sunset from my back deck last evening.
I’m feeling hopeful in Chapter 3, Page 18, of my Opportunity even though the sun’s playing hide and seek with me today resulting in overcast skies again. But I AM hopeful spring is just around the corner. And I say it’s all right.
“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” ~ Proverb from Guinea
Chapter 1, Page 3 (January 3rd) in my brand new book of Opportunity commenced in my very favorite way – sunshine! That’s what greeted me when I opened my bedroom blinds this morning.
Those streams of light were God’s way of speaking to me: “I know things look a little dismal right now for you, but be patient. I am working. And until you see the results of my work, enjoy a measure of my other handiwork – sunshine. I know it lifts your spirit!”
Driving into work this morning, (my first day back after a week off over Christmas) the sunshine was actually blindingly bright and I had to pull down my car visor to shield my eyes.
But sunshine makes me happy. And it doesn’t even have to be on my shoulder! (Like John Denver wrote in his song.) Just feasting my eyes on a bright sunshiny day makes my heart light and my face smile.
Encouragement comes in all forms. It can be as simple as awakening to sunshine. It can be a song heard on your car stereo. It can be a friend sharing a scripture passage with you. It can be a hug.
It can be kind words written in an email. It can be a private message of prayer sent to you on Facebook. It can be a thoughtful comment left on your blog. It can be feeling and witnessing God’s peace via the power of prayer.
And on this day, the third installment in my book of opportunity, I was blessed to experience all of those. Those gifts of reassurance boosted my spirit and inspired me with courage and faith to bravely meet the challenges of life. And through it all, they reminded me to always listen to the voice of Truth.
May I share a portion of the encouragement I received this day with you? This Casting Crowns song began playing on my car stereo this morning as I left for work. I don’t find that a coincidence. My prayer is that it speaks to you as it did to me. Husband and oldest daughter, this one’s for you!
Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. They happen each and every day, yet I think most of us take those events for granted.
My middle daughter is a wonderfully devoted and caring nurse at a fairly large hospital in the city and she’s been working the night shift steadily for a few weeks now. She posted a photo of a recent sunrise from a hospital window on her Facebook and added this comment: “God is smiling down on us today.”
I commented back that God smiles down on us every day, we just don’t always pay attention, and that set my contemplation wheels spinning.
I have to admit I’m not much of a sunrise person, not because I don’t appreciate sunrises, on the contrary I think they are magnificent and simply amazing. Viewing one is an inspiring way to start your day. My problem is wanting to get up early to greet the sun as it makes its way into the eastern horizon.
Sunsets are equally as exquisite and awe-inspiring and I enjoy them regularly from our backyard deck. I’ve even managed to capture a few of them with my digital camera. The colors spreading across the western sky vary as the seasons change and a sunset never disappoints me.
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the sun rise on the Atlantic Ocean and set on the Pacific Ocean (of course not on the same day!). Having lived in the Pacific Northwest, we made many trips to the coast and I have sensational photos of the sunsets on the Pacific to prove it.
Since we moved back to the homeland, my family has taken several vacations to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean. One time we all specifically arose early enough to see the sun edge its way up from the ocean’s horizon. Spectacular!
And to think that this technicolor scenic event happens every single day, whether we witness it or not. I think we miss so many stunning sights daily because we don’t take the time to look for them or wait for them either, for that matter.
I was pondering this on my drive home from work today. In typical November fashion, the day proved dreary, chilly, and rainy and dark clouds laced their wispy fingers over the gray skies every way I turned. But coming home, suddenly, and only for a few moments, the sun emanated beaming rays of light down through the clouds. Sunbeams! What a picture! I wished I had my camera along so I could share this sight with you. (Note to self: carry camera in purse at all times.)
You know, I could have missed this brief but beautiful sight had I been preoccupied with thoughts of dinner preparation or why the driver in front of me was not going the speed limit on the highway or how I couldn’t wait to get home and unwind from my busy day.
Since Thanksgiving is coming, I’ve been attempting to take notice of those things I usually don’t take time to think about and express my gratitude for them. Sunrises, sunsets, and rays of sunshine are just some of my favorite things.
May I invite you to join me in an attitude of gratitude? Let’s block off a little time in our day, wait for a sight to behold, and reflect on a blessing we usually miss because of our busy-ness. Perhaps you will notice something for which you hadn’t thought to be thankful. I sure have.
“In certain moments our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.” ~ Unknown
My feet, those feet that love to be free from the shackles of socks and shoes, are freezing!
I’m wearing socks, but I need to search my closet and locate my cozy, fuzzy slippers. The weather is dreary, overcast, rainy, and downright chilly in my neck of the woods.
Right now it is 58 degrees inside my house and about 51 degrees outside. Brrr! And I refuse to turn on the heat so soon in the season. My last natural gas bill was very low and I would like to keep it that way for another month at least.
This is not typical weather for my homeland in the early part of October. The golden sun that usually warms our autumn days is missing in action. I’m ready to file a missing star report on it. I’m sure the police will want to know the particulars, so I better get my facts straight, because I’ll probably end up talking with a Dragnet style detective – you know, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
- Missing star’s name? The Sun aka Sol.
- Age? Really old, created by God, Master Designer of the Universe, most likely on the first day.
- Height & weight? Well, he is about 864,400 miles wide, but I’m not sure how tall he is; weighs about 2 thousand trillion tons, give or take a few pounds.
- Address? I’m not exactly sure, but I know he lives in the middle of our solar system.
- Physical features? Very hot! Round, blindingly bright, sometimes white, yellow, or orange, even reddish, has a few sun spots here and there.
- Known friends? Earth for one. There are some other planets that hang around him – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. They’re the big dogs, but there’s this little wanna-be that hangs around too. Goes by the name of Pluto.
- Known hangouts? He’s always seen in the east in the morning, then moves over to the westside in the afternoon. I don’t know where the heck he goes at night – must be the other side of the globe!
- Last known whereabouts? Just the other day he was in the sky above my house, but haven’t seen him for a few days, longer than 24 hours, that’s for sure!
I’m hopeful the police will put out an APB (all points bulletin) for him and find his whereabouts. Maybe he’s just hiding out for some reason. I just know I want him back. If you see him, please tell him I love him, I miss him, I need him, and send him this way. ASAP!