Going through the motions

blogIMG_1730It occurs every day.

The sun arises, weaves its light through my window blinds, and I awaken.

I roll over, glance at the clock, and determine whether it’s time to climb out of bed or not.  Once out of bed, my day commences.  And it follows a certain routine.  Shower, dress, eat breakfast, and sit down with that cup of hot tea to contemplate what order of the day there shall be.

Day after day.  There’s a certain familiarity to a routine.  To having a schedule to follow.  Or not. 

We breathe in and out without even being aware of the body’s need for oxygen.  We consume food for the body’s nourishment and liquid refreshment for its thirst, often times not even remembering what we ate or drank.

We work.  We play.  We are awake.  We are asleep.  It happens each day.  It’s called living.  Or is it?

Oh, the days may vary.  One may be filled with much busyness either at work, home, or away.  One may be quiet and restful.  One may unfold as planned; one may veer so far astray and awry that we find ourselves in distress.

But yet… we continue on.  Putting one foot in front of the other.  Doing what is necessary.  Going through the motions.  Living another day, another month, another year, another decade if we’re given that privilege.

Once again the weekly photo challenge prompts me to delve deeper.  The theme is “motion” this week and I have several photos that could easily depict this concept.  But I deliberately chose one that demonstrates motion as a blur.  Because isn’t that how life sometimes feels?  Like one big blur.  Like each day just runs into the next and nothing about life feels extraordinary.

It’s just motion, going through the motions. Motion keeps us going.  Motion keeps us moving forward, but sometimes it propels us backwards too.  Motion is good, isn’t it?

I’m reminded of a certain television commercial for a medication that is supposed to help those stricken with arthritis.  You know the one which says “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.”  I’m certainly not a student of physics, but I do remember that Sir Isaac Newton detailed three laws of motion although I sure don’t claim to understand them.

Instead my thoughts today are that staying ‘in motion’ isn’t always a beneficial thing.   You see, going through the motions each and every day just doesn’t seem to be really living, at least it appears that way to me.

And I find that I easily slip into that mode of operation…that going through the motions.  In fact, I do it all the time and it causes me to become complacent, apathetic, and just downright bored.  I do this in all aspects of my life, my work, my writing, and yes, even in my church. 

Just going through the motions isn’t cutting it for me.  I don’t want a life merely living one day after another without meaning to it.  And for me, meaning and purpose and my very existence is tied up in one bundle – my walk with my Lord.  My own personal journey of faith.  But I find I’ve even been going through the motions there.

Pondering this while sorting through my photographs for this theme of motion, my mind kept returning to a song, The Motions, by Christian music artist Matthew West.  His lyrics kept cycling through my thoughts over and over.

“This might hurt, it’s not safe, but I know that I’ve gotta make a change.  I don’t care if I break.  At least I’ll be feeling something.

‘Cause just okay is not enough.  Help me fight through the nothingness of life.

I don’t wanna go through the motions.  I don’t wanna go one more day. Without Your all consuming passion inside of me.

I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?”

If you’ve never heard the song, you can listen and see West’s story by clicking here:

I imagine there is a plethora of self-help kind of messages, both in printed form via books and on the internet, about not settling for a life of going through the motions. 

No doubt those life coach gurus tell us to not settle for the mundane, the same old same old.  Instead I’m sure they urge us to grab life by the collar and go for the gusto.  You only have so much limited time in your day, in your life, so go out and try something new.  Take up hang-gliding! Shake things up!  Live your best life now!

But for me, my guidebook for life isn’t found in some positive living mantra.  My guidebook is God’s Holy Word. And my Bible says this: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” ~ Ephesians 5:14-17

Wake up!  That’s what my Bible tells me.  Wake up from this coma-like trance of life you’ve fallen into…this going through the motions of living.

And I must be careful not to focus on me, my self-centered way of living, which is foolish and accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom of God.  Asking for God’s wisdom and guidance in how to live a life of meaning, my daily task is to accept the opportunities that I am given to make a difference in another’s life.  A real difference.  A difference between life eternal by accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ or a death everlasting by rejecting Him.

How I live my life speaks volumes to others.  It’s not just about my words, it’s about my actions.  And if I’m just living a life going through the motions, how can I witness about my faith to those around me?  I can’t.

I might as well just stand still.  And be motionless.

I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to go one more day without passion for my Savior.

 “Too many sit at the banquet table of the gospel of Jesus Christ and merely nibble at the feast placed before them.  They go through the motions – attending their meetings perhaps, glancing at scriptures, repeating familiar prayers – but their hearts are far away.” ~ Joseph Wirthlin

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Staying afloat

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Afloat.  That’s the theme of this week’s WordPress photo challenge.  And I find that these photo challenges so often parallel what’s going on in my life at the time or they light a spark of inspiration for me to gather up the words rambling around in my mind, gather them up like the first fruits of the garden to savor and put to good use for nourishment.

But I’ve been on a writing break and inspiration eludes me for several reasons. I’m not convinced that I’m truly ready to take up the mantle of writing again yet, but this photo challenge did prompt me to peruse some of the photos in my cache where I came upon this one.  

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you will know that pictures often inspire my words.  I’m very visual.  Photographs speak to me.  The photo I’ve chosen here does that.

This isn’t a recent photo.  It was taken on a river cruise one day last summer on my 60th birthday with some of my family gathered around me.  It was a highlight of the year, a most enjoyable beautiful day.  And I floated along on those warm and loving feelings of that day for longer than the cruise lasted.

I’m still floating but in a different way today. One might say that if you’re afloat, you’re ‘at sea.’  And that’s where I currently am.  I’m at sea.  I’m not writing.  I’m not feeling creative or inspired.  I’m just maintaining…going about my daily business, one foot in front of the other…yes, I am staying afloat.

And my life jacket keeps me bobbing in the water.  My flotation device provides that buoyancy.  Otherwise, I would surely sink.

What keeps me afloat in times like these?  My Savior.  My Jesus.  My Lifeline.  The one who said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  ~ John 7:38

I read something once and don’t remember the author but the gist of it was that when there’s a big storm, ships don’t move forward, they just stay afloat so when one is caught in a ‘storm,’ you shouldn’t worry about getting ahead.  Just stay afloat and get through.  That sounds like good advice to me.

So I’ll just stay afloat and wait.  And sooner or later, my writing voice will be heard again.  Will you wait with me?

But I float on the bosom of faith, that bears me along like a river; And the lamp of my soul is alight with love for life, and the world, and the Giver.” ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The essence of fresh

blogIMG_5251I open my front door, stick my head out, and inhale a deep breath.  It’s there.  That fragrance.  That first slight smell of spring.  It’s coming although it certainly is taking its good old time.

Fresh.  That’s what I think when I smell the air outside my country home.  Fresh with a tinge of spring.  Whether it’s the rain that washes away all the dirty, grungy leftovers of a snowy winter or the sunshine that peeks its way through the clouds overhead, the air smells fresh.

But that’s not the only thought that crosses my mind when I think about something fresh.  And I have been thinking this week about the weekly photo challenge theme – fresh – in between blowing my nose and medicating a sore throat…who gets a cold at the onset of spring? 

Even with slightly congested sinuses I can smell the essence of fresh.  And I savor that fragrance each time I can nestle and cuddle and rock my newborn grandchild.

Freshness envelopes a house when there is a new baby in its midst.  It’s in the scent of that downy little head.  It’s in the odor of her sweet milky breath just after her mama nurses her.  And it’s in her soft kissable fingers and toes.

And the laundry.  Those tiny sleepers and booties and blankets and bath towels.  They all exude the smell of fresh.  The whiff of Dreft baby detergent perfumes each bit of cloth that swaddles that adorable little baby girl.  It’s an aroma I had almost forgotten but now cherish once again.

Welcoming a grandchild is like gathering a bouquet of freshness.  And I love it but more than that, my heart swells with fresh, new love for her and thankfulness for the blessing our adorable Emma Grace is to our family.

 “I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.”  ~ Charles Dickens

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com 

 

Swimming through the wall

blogIMG_5042“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” ~ Michael Jordan

I’m not saying Michael Jordan is a great philosopher.  Or a wise sage.  Or an inspirational guru.  But I will say this: that quote I found that’s attributed to him speaks to me right now.

You see, I’ve hit a wall.  I’ve been away from blogging for about a month.  I haven’t written a darn thing in that entire time.  Oh, I was busy. I spent the better part of a month at my daughter’s home helping with my adorable and precious new grand-baby, cleaning, laundering, cooking, etc.  Frankly, I didn’t have time to write.

But I’m home now, back in the empty nest and even though there’s plenty to do, my camera is laden with photos galore, and my computer sits idle, I can’t think of a thing to say.  I’m not sure if it’s that I’m exhausted in many ways, or that my emotions have been on high alert, or that I just am speechless right now, but I’ve hit the wall hard.

It’s not a brick wall because if it were, I’m fairly certain I have the willpower to knock it down – yeah, I’m strong-willed like that.  No, this wall is different.  It’s fluid.  It swallows me up.  It causes me to drift away.  It ebbs and flows.  It sucks me into its whirlpool effect.  And it’s drowning my words.

The photo above seems to be a perfect representation for how I’m feeling and for this past week’s photo challenge theme: Wall.

I took the photo during the long wait outside the labor and delivery department in the hospital while my grand-daughter was making her entry into this world. 

It was around two in the morning and a running water sculpture encased in glass kept grabbing my attention while we waited…and waited…and waited.  It just kept running and bubbling along ticking off the hours as we patiently anticipated our first grandchild’s birth.

I snapped the photo because I needed something to occupy my time and I thought the water ‘wall’ would make an interesting photo. 

I never thought it would describe exactly how I’m feeling right now nor did I imagine it would personify a photo challenge. 

But I do know one thing.  Eventually, I’ll push my way through the wall, even if I have to do the backstroke.  My words will come back.  I’ll rise to the surface and be able to express all the joy and love that is captive in my heart.   And I’ll be writing again.

“A boundary is not that at which something stops, but that from which something begins.” ~ Martin Heidegger

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Just for winter fun

I‘m still on my little hiatus from writing and still spending time snuggling and cuddling our brand new granddaughter. 

But just for fun today I want to inject a little levity into this long winter season we’re having here in my neck of the woods.  And I’m hoping it brings a smile to your face like it did to mine.

You know the old saying – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? 

Well, when life gives you a lot of snow, make awesome snow sculptures. 

To see one guy’s version of what to do with all that snow in the yard, click hereMake sure you view the picture gallery and view his way cool sculptures.

We will dig ourselves out of winter soon and we’ll be so very thankful for spring.

Leaving you with a funny little quote: 

To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring.” ~W.J. Vogel

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Off on a break

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Someone keeps shaking the snow globe.

While we are not socked in with huge snowfalls like our neighbors to the north, snow and frigid winter temperatures here in our neck of the woods tend to make us want to go into hibernation mode.

You know it’s been cold when you go outside and think, “Wow, it feels warm out here,” and the thermometer informs you it’s 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yes, 25 and a little sunshine felt like a heat wave.

But I’m not writing to discuss the weather.  It’s winter.  That’s a given.  I live in an area that gets winter weather and really, I’m not complaining about that.  Spring will arrive eventually.

Actually, I’m not complaining about anything.  Since the arrival of our darling first grandchild, Papa and I have been filled with joy and wonder over this new little life.  You might say she’s brought a little spring into our life, spring in our steps, spring in our hearts.

And even though there are an abundance of words floating around my mind that will need written down and published in Mama’s Empty Nest, I’m going on a little break.  I’ll still check in to read my fellow bloggers’ posts, but I will be on hiatus from writing for a while.

Just wanted to let everyone know so no one worries that something is wrong.  On the contrary, everything is right and good including the precious little missy who just woke up from a nap and her amazingly wonderful mother, my beautiful daughter.

“Be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.” ~ Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com