The age old question

blogDSCN7187It’s the age old question….why?

We can ponder it over and over again until our mind is numb from contemplating it. 

We can ask our family members, friends, neighbors, even the internet yet still find no answer. 

We can cry over it.  Scream about it.  Rail against it. 

We can spout all the platitudes like ‘everything happens for a reason’ or we can just buck up, batten down the hatches, and believe what Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die” and accept those sayings as truth.

Yet an answer for that why still eludes us.

We can even earnestly petition God in prayer and ask Him over and over, “Why?”  And still find no reason surfaces to placate our mind-boggling query.  We just have to remind ourselves that even if we don’t get an answer, the Lord still listens to our prayers and answers them according to His will not ours. 

The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis also tackled the problem of why things happen the way they do when he wrote, “The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” 

Life just doesn’t seem fair.  Ask Calvin and Hobbes.  The cartoonist Bill Watterson penned this quote in one of his comic strips: “I know the world isn’t fair, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?”

I’ve come to the realization that the question really shouldn’t be ‘why?’  Instead perhaps we should ask, “Why not?”

Our self-centeredness feeds us the lie that the world revolves around us.  Plans should occur just the way we want.  We are entitled to get what we want, when we want it, how we want it.  Instant gratification because we deserve it! 

Let’s face it, in this day and age our focus is totally centered on self.  We dress for self, undergo plastic surgery for self, purchase cars and homes for self, whiten our teeth, dye our hair, tan our bodies, all to satisfy self. 

Because our self-image seems like the most important thing. It’s what gets us the most lucrative job, the handsome/beautiful spouse, the façade of success.  Or so we think.  At least that’s what society has taught us and we’ve bought into it, taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

But that’s not how real life works.  Reality is so much different. Reality shows us that life is downright difficult at times.  Bad things do happen to good people.  Terrible occurrences befall even the most devout and faithful believers in Christ. 

People lose jobs, they are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, their marriages fail, accidents happen, homes are lost to natural disasters, loved ones die unexpectedly or too young, and yes, even we must face our own deaths eventually.   

The worst times of our lives don’t happen because we’ve done something to warrant trying times, it’s just the way life is.  I hate to burst your bubble but we really are not promised a rose garden in this lifetime. 

We’re not guaranteed perpetually sunny days with no troubles, no calamities, no gut-wrenching events to endure in this world.  No, sometimes we just have to face the full force of the storm and hang on for dear life. And there’s One to hang on to.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 (NIV)

See that’s where our hope lies.  Not in this world and all its trappings.  Our hope is in something, some ONE that is eternal.  The Savior of the world. And when I think of all He left behind in heaven to purposely come to this world and willingly suffer horribly for me, my troubles seem minuscule. 

And I have to ask myself, “Why NOT me?”  If my Savior suffered the torture of the cross just for me (and you), then why do I think I’m so very special that I should not have to bear a few burdens myself?

“God knows what we are going through when we grieve, and He wants to assure us of His love and concern. He also wants us to turn to Him and bring our heartaches and burdens to Him.” ~ Billy Graham

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Find your happy

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We all have one.  A happy place.  

Some folks dream of relaxing on a pristine sunny beach while others might be happier on the top of a mountain taking in a spectacular view.  For some, their happy place consists of being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life in the city while others enjoy the quiet contentedness of the country.  

Where’s your happy place?

Way back in late fall, Papa and I ventured on a long weekend trip a few states southwest of us to visit our oldest daughter and son-in-law. For this family-oriented Mama, spending time with my loved ones always makes me happy.

And one of the happy highlights of that trip happened one afternoon when my daughter had reservations for tea at a lovely spot called Sisters Tea Parlor where we joined daughter’s sweet mother-in-law and equally sweet sister-in-law.  

Definitely a happy place

Definitely a happy place

Treated to pretty and scrumptious tea sandwiches and goodies, delectable desserts, and an amazing assortment of all kinds of teas, everything proved delightful from the lovely company to the delicious food and tea to the adorable way each room in the tea parlor was decorated. 

I loved the sign “Find Your Happy” over the door to the Paris pink dining room where we sipped our tea and dined on our delights.

Find Your Happy.  

Isn’t that a good suggestion?

I can name a plethora of things that make me happy and I’m grateful for that.  But I have to say that one of my happiest places is right here. 

I find my happy when I’m writing something straight from my heart.  I find my happy when I capture a photograph that I know I can share with my family, friends, and blog readers.  I find my happy here in this spot. 

And yesterday, I was reminded that indeed this IS one of my happy places, and it has been for quite some time, when I received this notification from the hosting site of my blog:  

anniversary-2x“Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com! You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!”

So my happy place for the last five years has been sharing my thoughts and photos with some of the most wonderful readers right here at Mama’s Empty Nest.  And I need to thank you all for convening with me in my happy place.  I think I’ll go for another five years,  What do you think?

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~Frederick Keonig

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The three Ds

blogIMG_5979So maybe you’ve noticed, I’ve been a bit missing in action these last couple of months.

I’ll blame my absence on being a tad – shall we say – distracted – just dealing with life and its foibles.  But those distractions from my usual routine kept my mind and even emotions occupied and disturbances seemed to just swallow my words up like a vacuum cleaner running amok. 

When it came to blog writing, I struggled while attempting to capture some elusive thoughts and coerce them into coherent sentences.  The result was that my blog posts were reduced to a bare minimum interspersed with a few photographs here and there. 

Truth is a picture really is worth a thousand words at least it appears so for me.  Photos do inspire me and I can only hope the pictures I capture and share ignite a little inspiration in others as well or at least bring a smile to someone’s face.  

Why do photographs sometimes speak so well for me?  I am a visual person. Often times when I’m pondering an idea or a concept I actually get a visual picture in my mind and when I spell a word out loud for someone, I ‘see’ the letters as I speak them. 

So, yes, photos evoke reflective musings and emotions in me and most of the time they even prompt words to swell up inside my heart and head and land on the computer screen in front of me.

But writing has been scant lately. It happens to everyone from time to time.  You just find you have nothing to say.  At least nothing of importance.  Or you just don’t have the energy to write because your brain is too taxed with those distractions.

Commotions.  Upsets.  Disturbances.  They all interfere with my ability to write.  If my mother were to write an excuse for me like she did when I was absent from school, she might have said I had come down with the 3Ds – disordered diversion deficit.  Life seemed disordered which sent me into diversion which ended up causing a writing deficit.  

When unsettling circumstances interfere and slam their way into my thoughts with bewilderment, my writing suffers.  I tend to retreat and find a quiet place when faced with an unexpected occurrence, so that may also explain why I’ve been so ‘absent’ from the blogging world in recent months. 

But I don’t want my readers to think I’ve been sitting around my house all morose and lonely and having myself one big pity party.  Good golly Miss Molly, no, I’ve been too occupied with other activities for that – important things like being there for people who really need me and making some lasting memories in between.  And, oh. the best thing of all, spending significant time marveling over my beautiful first grandchild, which has been a true blessing.

But suddenly, I realize July is about shot and I’m STILL not writing much in this blog.  I’ve retreated for much too long on my writing hiatus and somehow I must carve out time and conjure up some motivation and creativity to situate myself in front of my computer and tap, tap, tap on the keyboard while hoping something worth reading bursts forth from this distracted heart and mind of mine.

Until that happens, I thought I’d play a little catch up and let you glimpse a snippet of the more enjoyable diversions that have kept me occupied.  I will also let my photos do some of the ‘talking’ for me.

Of course, since her birth back in February, my adorable first grandchild has captured my heart and every moment I spend with her is sweeter than the most delectable dessert you can imagine. 

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My baby granddaughter’s hand in mine ♥

Then there’s this cat – this crazy rambunctious silvery gray cat named Sasha – who has claimed a temporary home at my house.  She keeps me jumping up and down to scold her for her naughty cat antics which include clawing my family room furniture and snagging my curtains. 

Sasha the sassy

Sasha the sassy

And then she does stunts like this to make me laugh.

Somersaults on the bannister?

Gymnastics on the banister anyone?

Way back in May, our family convened at son and daughter-in-law’s new home in the state next door for Memorial Day weekend.   What a respite it was!  Family together time made my heart sing with joy.  We enjoyed a day of miniature golfing and introduced grandbaby to farm animals, attended a heritage festival where we enjoyed an outside philharmonic orchestra concert that evening complete with sky divers at the end of the performance.  And baby slept through the cannon fire during the finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.   And did I mention we stuffed ourselves with delicious food – and ice cream, there must always be ice cream! – and generally made fools of ourselves spoiling the baby in our midst?

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The month of June found us celebrating both my and Papa’s birthdays – he turned the big 6-0.  Some of the family were able to venture home to mark Papa’s big day over that weekend.   We celebrated with a visit to the park, a yummy dinner in the city, and….of course…more ice cream. 

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And that brings me to July when daughter and granddaughter accompanied Papa and me to the city zoo and aquarium on Independence Day, which turned out to be a fun way to spend a lovely summer holiday. There may or may not have been ice cream….okay, there was… just in a different form (dipping dots).  And Papa, who absolutely hates snakes, actually petted one and Mama’s got the picture to prove it.

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So if you’ve been wondering what in the world I’ve been doing, now you know.  Please don’t worry about me;  I’m still here. Despite a few bumps in the road, blips on my radar screen, and fireworks veering off course, I’m steady on my path no matter what distractions come my way.

“No matter what distractions surround you, always remember who you are and stay on your path…that’s where your blessings are.”  ~ Unknown

 ©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

This is my country

My country…it has its beauty.  My country…it has its flaws.  

Yet it is still my country and I wouldn’t want to claim citizenship in any other country but this one.  Because when you strip away all the things that you may not agree with, one thing does still remain.  

My country is the land of the free…at least so far.  

And as we head into this holiday we celebrate in July – this Independence Day – when we hold picnics and family gatherings and ooo and aah over nighttime fireworks – we must remember one thing.  We must strive, we must fight, we must never give up to keep our freedom no matter what.  And for me, I will also put my trust in God to help me do just that.

For the rest of this week, I’m publishing a photo essay each day until the fourth of July.  And I’m setting my photos to the lyrics of one of my favorite patriotic songs, My Country Tis of Thee.

Join me in commemorating my country, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“My country tis of thee…”

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©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com