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

Hanging around and waiting

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Grand-parenthood awaits me.  Our middle daughter and her husband are expecting our first grandchild, a little girl.  Sugar and spice and everything nice. And we can’t wait.

But that’s exactly what we must do.  Wait.  So as the due date nears, we’re just hanging around waiting for our granddaughter to make her appearance.  And to kiss those little toes that will fill these tiny little socks.

You know that old saying, “Good things come to those who wait.”

I’m having a hard time waiting for this good gift, this little blessing,  from the Lord.  But wait, we will. She will arrive when she is ready and Papa and I are more than ready to be her grandparents. We’re ready for our family to start connecting the dots. 

“Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.” ~Lois Wyse

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

On a scale of…

blogIMG_2963(2)On a scale of one to ten, I’d give this photo a ten.  Not because it’s an extraordinary picture.  Not because the photographer (that would be me) is a professional (because I’m certainly an amateur, hobbyist kind of picture taker).  And not just because it fits the Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge theme of ‘scale.’

There’s Lady Liberty standing tall at 305 feet from the foundation she sits upon to the top of her torch. You might say Miss Liberty is living large.  Her feet alone are 25 feet long; her face is more than eight feet tall; and her right arm holding the torch measures 42 feet.

And if that’s not enough, her total weight is 225 tons (that equals 450,000 pounds).  

Compare her in size to the ‘little people,’ the humans gathering on her base in this photo.  The average height of an American man is 5’9″.  American women are on the average around 5’4″ tall.  It seems that the average weight here in the United States is on the rise but we certainly can’t compare to the Statue of Liberty’s weight.  

So on a scale measuring size, we humans look pretty insignificant compared to Lady Liberty.

But on a scale measuring importance, all of those little people mean more than this famous statue.  Because we are the defenders of liberty.  We are the people who must never forget what it costs to live free.  And we have the power to protect, guarantee, and ensure that the generations who will follow us will continue to live in that freedom.  We must never, ever take liberty for granted.

So if you think your voice doesn’t matter, you’re wrong.  If you think there’s no use in speaking out against government, politicians, injustices, corruption, immorality, or just plain wrongdoings occurring in our country – the land of the free and the home of the brave – you’re wrong. If you think your vote, your opinion, your rights, your beliefs don’t matter any more, you are wrong.  

Because we, the people, no matter how small we are, hold up Miss Liberty.  Without us, she means nothing.

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed — else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Expressing myself…again

My usual library choices

My usual library choices

Express yourself.  Just the phrase conjures up freedom, doesn’t it?  Let the real you show.  Use whatever means that works best for you to convey your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, what have you.

Just like plunking in a couple of quarters in a jukebox, flipping through the song options, and pressing a corresponding number on the buttons, an instant tune from the past comes to my mind when I read that phrase.  A song entitled “Express Yourself” from 1970 by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band sounds from the jukebox speakers in my mind.

“Express yourself! Express yourself!  You don’t never need help from nobody else.
All you got to do now; Express yourself! Whatever you do, uh, do it good…”

That photo challenge theme this week – express yourself – is still running through my mind.  Even though it’s a challenge to showcase a photograph, I always seem to find something to say in written form as well.  I guess I just always have the need to express myself verbally even in photo challenges.

When I view the world around me, there is a whole lot of expressing going on with a lot of freedom but not much of it is done well.  Or done for good purposes.  Or done to uplift and encourage our fellow travelers here on earth.

Folks express themselves in tirades on Facebook.  In online news and off, magazines, and on television. In denigrating comments on the internet.  And there’s a lot of verbal garbage being thrown around everywhere you look. 

And while we do have the right to free speech, when did that speech become so inundated with words from the gutter?  When did filth, demeaning and disgusting descriptions become socially acceptable? My ears are assaulted with foul language just walking down the street and frankly, I’m getting tired of those expressing themselves without any boundaries.

I just checked out a number of books from the public library and in doing so, I decided to take a little detour away from my usual fiction.  Instead of searching out some of my favorite authors, I decided to wander up and down the library aisles, books to the right of me, books to the left, perusing titles on the spines of so many editions lined up like soldiers in formation as I meandered.  If a title grabbed my attention, I slipped the book off the shelf, opened it, and read the quick synopsis on the inside dust jacket.

Some of them disturbed me immediately and they were promptly returned to the library shelf.  But at last, I found one that sounded like an interesting story, one of transformation and redemption if I could believe the reviews and the short description of the novel.

That book came home with me along with my usual novelists and some non-fiction as well.  But as I settled down to read this variation from the norm, I was assaulted by the very first paragraph dropping the f-bomb right in my lap. 

When did ‘good writing’ resort to the use of this word on practically every page of a book?  When did a work by “one of our most important and original writers,” according to one reviewer, become littered by graphic descriptions of sexual acts? And this was certainly not one of those torrid romance novels by any stretch of the imagination, nor was it that shades of a certain color novel.  Let’s call it what it is.  Pornography.

I closed the book, disgusted not just in the words printed on the pages but in myself for choosing such a disappointing read.  I reopened the book to the last page of the dust jacket to check out the author.  A woman.  An award-winning novelist with books that have been translated into several languages.  A writer that one reviewer gloated about wanting to travel with on ‘the journey called life.’

Okay, I’m not Pollyanna but I, for one, do not want to travel on a journey of life like the one described in this book.  I know the world is full of disgusting, filthy, vile people and things. I witness enough of that in front of my very eyes and every time I turn on the TV, read an article online or in print.  I get that.  But I do not agree that slime should be touted as award-winning and I certainly am not willing to make such degrading ‘literature’ my journey of life.

Isn’t it enough that the real world is so ugly?  Why does the make-believe world of fiction have to be the same?

If this is the kind of garbage that makes you a writer winning fame, accolades, and publishing contracts, then I want no part of it.  I’ve read a lot of classical literature both during my college days as an English major and in adulthood and can’t recall one time that any of those eloquent and articulate masters of the written word dived into the depths of cesspools that writers do today. 

I do not want to fill my mind with garbage by taking it in through my eyes or any other of my senses.  And I firmly believe that when garbage goes in, it comes back out, something I used to remind my children as they were growing up to caution them about what they watched, read, and listened to. 

I relegated that book back to my library bag for an immediate return and opened another volume of what I usually read – while not always written by Christian authors, it is what I call ‘clean lit.’ Ironically, when I finished reading that book, I noticed something sticking between the plastic sheet covering the book and the dust jacket.  Someone had left a bookmark there.  Accidentally or intentionally, I do not know.

Bookmark in the book where I found it

Bookmark in the book where I found it

But I know this.  It was encouraging to see.  The front was a well-known scripture, which you can see in this photo, and on the back were these words, “The Lord bless thee.”

Maybe, I thought, I should stick that bookmark in that other vile book.  Maybe someone reading that garbage would need reminding that God loves her or him very much.  Maybe it would show what real love is, not the immoral lust that book contained. 

I know one thing.  At no point do I want to find myself in a putrid, stinking pit again either in my own very real life, in reading, or in the one I express through my writing.  Because I do express myself.  I express myself in words that spring from my mouth and those words emerge from my heart.  Words that take form in the recesses of my mind.  Words that often easily surge from my inner self to my fingers as I type onto the computer screen before me.

And I want those words to be uplifting, not debasing.  To be encouraging, not degrading.  To be enlightening, not corrupting.  Just as that left behind bookmark encouraged me.

There is enough ugliness in this world, but my hope is fixed on something much nobler.  So I will continue to express myself using the following scripture as my guideline.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  ~ Philippians 4:8

And I’ll be more discerning over my choice of ‘literature.’

“All that a man is outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectively he must think clearly. To act nobly he must think nobly.”  ~ William Ellery Channing

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Expressed in love

Empty nest at sunrise

Empty nest at sunrise

Some of us are loud.  Some of us are quiet.  Some of us use bold gestures and words.  Some let others speak for us.

Some of us ‘speak’ without words through art, music, work, the way we dress, what we eat, and the list could go on and on. When it comes to expressing ourselves, the ways we do so are as diverse as the myriad hues of color. Variations upon variations.

This week’s photo challenge – Express Yourself – caused me to think about how I express myself.  I’m a communicator.  That’s why I love words – both spoken and written.  Expressing myself is one reason why I write this blog. 

But I also express myself through the lens of my camera.

“The camera always points both ways. In expressing your subject, you also express yourself.” ~ Freeman Patterson

I do imagine that my photos speak for me, describe me, help the viewer get a sense of who I am even without me expounding on them.  That’s why I enjoy Wordless Wednesdays so much.

What we do truly does demonstrate who we are.  And just like everything in this world, our actions can be positive or negative.  We can encourage others through our self-expressions or tear others down. 

This morning I thought about my family since they are an expression of me and how each one of them depicts themselves. And I thought I’d give you a glimpse into their expressions.

blogIMG_2151Oldest daughter expresses herself through music, she’s a talented pianist, but she also reveals who she is through her love of adventure in travel.

blogIMG_3056Son also demonstrates himself through music.  A self-taught guitarist, he reveals his engineering side through this cigar box guitar he fashioned that really makes beautiful music.

blogIMG_4282Middle daughter is musical too, she sings.  But how she really reveals herself is through emotions and you can usually see that through her facial expressions.

Papa serving others in his civic organization

Papa serving others in his civic organization

Papa shows who he is by his works of service from his involvement in a community civic organization to the many ways he serves others in our church.  That’s how he expresses himself.

But it occurs to me that none of our self-expressions mean a thing if they are based only in self, done to glorify self, to exalt ourselves, to bring attention to self.  Because when we focus on self, how can we express love?  Self-love maybe, but certainly not love for others. 

For me, expressing myself needs to have a backbone and that backbone is faith in my Savior.  Faith expressed in love.

“I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.” ~ Galatians 5:5-10 The Message (MSG)

That’s how I want to express myself. Faith expressed in love.

What about you?  In what ways do you express yourself? How does that show us who you really are?

“Self-expression must pass into communication for its fulfillment.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com