Once upon a time

ballpoint pen classic coffee composition

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Once upon a time, I was an English major in college plunking away on a manual typewriter or setting words to paper with pen in hand.

And since having an English degree alone didn’t necessarily lead to a lot of opportunities in the job market, I decided to put my degree to good use by becoming an English teacher. Hence, my Bachelor of Science degree is in English Education.

Often I wonder why I chose that major. I was the first one in my family to attend college, let alone graduate. From early on, my parents encouraged me to get an education, preferably in college. I remember my mom beaming when I told her I wanted to become a teacher.

My two older sisters had married young but still managed to obtain decent jobs with just a high school education, but I distinctly remember my mother trying to steer me away from a young marriage.  That was fine with me because I didn’t want to get married, if at all, for a very long time. 

Since my siblings were so much older than I was, I’m not really certain why neither one of them aspired to get an education beyond high school. One of them is extremely skilled with numbers, bookkeeping, and in business and would have made an excellent CPA. The other one is empathetic and has a personality suited to be a care-giver and I remember she considered being a nurse, but she did not pursue that field.

So maybe my folks just wanted me to reach for a different future than the rest of my family.  And perhaps they hoped that when I went away to college, I would explore new horizons, not just academically but socially as well, and would discover that there was someone better romantically for me than my high school boyfriend, who wasn’t a real winner.

Whatever the reason, after I received my college acceptance letters, I made my choice about which school to attend and had to declare a major. I honestly didn’t know what to select. So in the end, I picked English because it was a subject I excelled in and I liked to read and write.

But I wasn’t a typical English major. I didn’t get my kicks out of reading authors’ works of prose and poetry and analyzing themes or archetypal images in classic or modern literature.  Sometimes I would read an assigned work and think, “Huh?? What do I make of that?”

I remember sitting in class listening to my fellow English majors discussing those analytical aspects and me kind of shrinking in my seat, hoping the professor didn’t call on me to add to the discussion.

Because honestly, I had no clue what they were talking about. I didn’t see those analytical features that they so easily identified in a short story, a novel, poetry, or a play.

So I kept mum and nodded my head a lot and, if I’m honest with myself, pretended to be something I was not. If a thought did come to my mind, I feared it just didn’t measure up to the kind of discourse fellow classmates were having.

I thought expressing my thoughts would sound stupid or clueless. I just didn’t believe I measured up to being the typical creative, often non-mainstream type of person who was an English major. In other words, I felt extremely lacking.

But when it came to writing, there’s where I found my niche. I always had a good command of grammar, syntax, and excellent editing and proofreading skills. So crafting sentences and paragraphs, writing and re-writing, proofing and editing what I wrote (and often proofing non-English majors’ papers or helping them write) came easy to me.

“Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.” ~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I can still spot grammatical errors, typos, and misspelled or misused words immediately in reading material. Papa probably gets tired of hearing me spout off about all the mistakes I find in our local newspaper when I say “Don’t they teach these kids how to write well in journalism school now days?” 

So writing is my thing. It always has been. But it wasn’t until I acquired a job as a reporter/assistant editor at a daily newspaper that I honed my craft even more.

I should have majored in journalism instead of declaring an English major, but by the time my university offered journalism as a major I had completed almost all of my requirements for an English Education degree.

The thought of changing majors and taking more courses which would require attending college longer just did not appeal to me.  I was ready to be done and graduate and move on.

But writing was my saving grace. And it still is now, over 45 years later. However, I’m still not this vastly creative kind of person who has tons of novel and short story ideas floating around my brain.

I find the kind of writing I excel in is more real-to-life.  I tend to be more of a journalist or an essayist, I suppose. I take facts and weave them into a story that hopefully appeals to and resonates with my readers.

Recently, while going through some old belongings and purging items, I found a journal in which I had written poetry from my high school and college days and as a young adult.  

Bad poetry, is how I imagine my old English professors would rate most of it. But the poems were written from my heart at the time.

Here’s a sample:

"On the Death of an Uncle"

You floated in and out
Of my existence.
Why was your life
Snuffed out like a candle
In one short blow?

Why did you go
Without warning?
Without me being there?
When I was so far away?

People always thought
You were “odd;”
I always thought
You were “unique.”
Well…not always.

I remember how angry
I was with you
For telling me I shouldn’t float my toy boat
Down the tiny trickle of water
Flowing through the yard.

“Watch out for copperheads,” you said.
Part of me, in all my 10-year-old wisdom
Called you a fool,
Yet the other part
Believed you.

You always enjoyed
Arguing and teasing with me.
And even scaring me
A little.

Yet I remember
The hand-picked bouquet of lilacs.
“These are for you,” you said.
And I believed
In you.

I remember the honeycombs,
Dripping with honey
Magically produced by
Those bees of yours.
But mostly I remember
How proud you were
Of them, the bees,
And me too,
I think.

I always thought
I was your favorite niece.
Why did you leave
Before I could say goodbye?

I know you didn’t like
Dealing with death,
Me either.
I remember how
The two of us sat,
Huddled in the funeral home corner
And cried
When Great Aunt died.

Is that why you
Left so quickly?
To spare me the grief,
To spare me the tears?

It didn’t work, you know.
My tears sill flow.
My grief is still here.
Why did you go
And not say goodbye?

©CCM 1979

Tell me what you think. You can be brutally honest. I can take it, because I learned to be brutally honest with myself once upon a time.

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” ~Harper Lee

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

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Still waiting…

blogIMG_6142The season of autumn is taking its good ol’ time getting here. Like, did it take the longest way, the scenic route, the road less traveled?

Maybe I’m impatient but as I sit here writing this post, I’m dressed in summer attire – shorts and a tank top – (in October!) and I’ve been decked in this garb since 6:45 this morning. October mornings should be chilly and brisk, not clammy and warm.

As much as I want to shove summer’s temperatures and humidity far, far away and relegate it to the “been there, done that” list for the year, summer still wants to hang out with me. Why??

What part of no doesn’t that season understand? Apparently, summer didn’t get the memo that Mama is tired of it and is waiting not so patiently and with wringing of hands for the cooler, crisper, crunchy leaves, nutty aroma of fall.

I mean how I can enjoy jaunts to the apple farm/pumpkin patch/fall festival events with my family and our two adorable little grandchildren like we tried last weekend when it’s close to 90°?!?

Usually by now, our deciduous trees have juiced up their color-turning capabilities and are flaunting their leaves turned golden, scarlet, amber, and russet.  But as I gaze outside our windows, I still see green, green, green everywhere.   

Several maple trees adorn our two and a half acre yard here at Mama’s Empty Nest, and in the fall, they become the loveliest orange-red. But absolutely nothing has transpired yet.

On my early morning walk with my friend, we noticed a couple trees with a hint or two of some color changing. But we also noticed some trees possessing a branch of colored leaves were already dropping those to the ground. No! That’s not supposed to happen yet!

We’re wondering if we will have a fall season at all. Will it just turn blustery cold and we’ll jump-start into winter?

If you believe the old tale about wooly bear caterpillar colors predicting the severity of winter weather, that might be true.  According to legend, more rusty brown segments on Wooly foretell a mild winter. But the more black segments little Wooly has, we’re in for severe winter weather.

So far, I’ve noticed a few totally black woolies and a few with brown middles and black on both ends. So I guess it’s a toss-up. 

I won’t mind winter weather, but I’m not ready for that yet. Just let me enjoy my favorite season of the year first –  beautiful, invigorating, refreshingly crisp autumn.

It’s time for change. It’s time to move on. It’s time for fall to take its rightful place. Didja hear that, summer??

“…and all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 (YES, PLEASE!)

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Wednesday’s Words: sunflower thoughts

There’s something about sunflowers that just makes me smile.

Whether it’s their brilliant yellow petals or the way they tower above other plants as they grow so lofty and strong, sunflowers command my attention when I see them.

They always turn their faces towards the sun and that’s what I strive to do as well. Maybe that’s why they evoke feelings of positivity and happiness in me.

Sunflowers have been my oldest daughter’s favorite flower since she was a young teen-aged girl. And each time I see those perky, cheerful flowers, I think of her and that also brings smiles to my face and happy thoughts to my mind.

The sunflowers that grew in our backyard garden are no more.  They slowly commenced hanging their heads as if they were saddened to see summer depart and their sturdy stalks withered and shriveled. 

But all is not lost because the sunflowers’ season has come to a close, for left behind are their dark centers chock full of plentiful seeds.

Those sunflower seeds make yummy treats for the bird population that frequents our yard. And perhaps, one of those seeds will fall into the fertile garden soil and surprise us with a new sunflower plant next spring.

An optimistic symbol of life – maybe that’s another reason why radiant sunflowers bring me pleasure.

They remind me that seasons come and seasons go. Life changes occur and dark shadows can threaten my joy. But the sun will reappear and its warmth and light will bring sunflowers back into my sight once more.

 “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ~Helen Keller

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

My green personali-tea

blogIMG_5827.jpgIf you happen to have a Facebook account, you will know what I’m talking about. Know those copious personality “tests” that show up on your newsfeed?

You know the ones – you answer some multiple choice questions and at the end of the quiz, it is determined you are a lily not a rose. Or what Harry Potter character you resemble. Or what kind of a house you would be happiest residing in.

Why we are so intrigued by these so-called personality tests, I do not know. Part of me wants to click on those sites believing they are most likely innocuous, but my logical brain tells me not to succumb to the lure. Most of the time they may seem harmless or just click bait, but then again they might be insidious.

So for the most part I refrain from clicking my mouse and opening up what could prove to be Pandora’s Box of computer chaos. After all, who wants to introduce a virus to your computer or get hacked? And just this past weekend, social media was all abuzz with hacking hoaxes and stories of data breaches on Facebook. 

But still those silly tests fascinate me. Now stay with me, as I segue into what seems like a different topic. I promise I’ll get to some kind of point.

Back in late summer, Papa and I took a little excursion away from home for a few days and Middle Daughter and Grandchild #1 accompanied us. We visited several sightseeing areas and fun places that a preschooler would enjoy as well.

One of those spots was the Turkey Hill Experience.

If you are not familiar with the Turkey Hill brand, it’s a tasty ice cream and they also produce really good ready-to-drink iced teas you can find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.

The Turkey Hill Experience proved to be an entertaining place for both kids and adults as we learned about dairy milk and how ice cream is made through interactive exhibits. Another plus was getting free samples of ice cream and tasting different flavors of ice tea/beverages.

Ice cream. Iced tea. What could be better on a hot summer day?

Not much in my book, so I sampled the peanut butter ripple (yummy,  but my absolute favorite Turkey Hill ice cream is Trio’politan Mint Cookie, a carton with three flavors including vanilla ice cream with chocolate cookie swirl, dark chocolate ice cream, and mint ice cream with chocolate cookie pieces).

I am also a tea lover – hot tea, iced tea, doesn’t matter. I love it. So I made my way back several times to the drink dispensers and sampled all of the iced tea/fruit drink flavors provided that day: peach tea, sweet tea, lemon tea, unsweetened tea, raspberry tea, diet green tea mango, and watermelon lemonade.

I’m not a fan of diet drinks because I don’t like consuming artificial sweeteners. And if I could do so, I’d drink sweet tea every day but I need to watch my sugar consumption so most of the time I drink totally unsweetened tea.

But while sampling those nice, cold, flavored teas, I found myself returning to get more of the diet green tea mango. To me, it was the most delicious and thirst quenching one. I do enjoy drinking plain green tea, but the addition of the mango flavor truly won me over.

And according to the computerized “Personali-TEA” test I took at one of the kiosks, I am a green tea person. I found it amusingly appropriate because I had been guzzling the green tea mango prior to taking the “test.”

I tried to capture with my camera what the kiosk screen revealed, but the photo is not the best (see above). However, you get the idea. Here’s how it described my “personali-tea”:

“You are the center of a chaotic world, many are impressed by your Zen-like patience and mature wisdom, despite your youthful appearance. Careers that may offer a good fit include book critic, marriage counselor, and lighthouse keeper.”

Hmm…I had a good chuckle over it because sometimes I actually do feel like the center of a chaotic world (which involves a three-year-old at my house).

But I must confess that I struggled putting words on the keyboard to compose a post for today. So Zen-like patience? Not today.

And since I had to dig down deep for a subject I even felt like writing about, my so-called mature wisdom must have flown right out the window.

Perhaps I just need to imbibe in a refreshingly cold glass of iced tea. Either that or start looking into a career as a lighthouse keeper.

“Tea, tea, a wonderful drink, the more you have, the more you think. The more you think, the better you write, so let’s drink tea all day and night.” ~ Daniel Dalton

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A book lover’s dream

blogIMG_5928I’m a reader. I’ve always loved immersing myself in a good book since the day I learned to read.

Occasionally that caused me a bit of a problem when my mother gave me chores to do and instead of obeying her, I would sneak off to my bedroom or outside under a tree and spend my time captivated by a story I was reading.

I can vividly recall my mom saying, “Get your nose out of that book and get busy. You can read after you’ve done your work.”

The love of reading and writing is what led me to become an English major in college, where I read more books than I can even remember.

Here I am many decades later and my nose is still stuck in a book. And often, I confess, I should be doing my chores around the house but you will find me reading instead.

I’ve read all of the books on the bookshelf in our living room and then some. I’ve read some of the offerings on Papa’s bookshelves in our home office but not all, mostly because his tastes in reading material and mine differ.

When our children took Advanced Placement English in high school, I eagerly scanned their summer reading lists and read the same books they did. I find myself burning through e-books in a jiffy because I am a fast reader and they are usually fairly short. 

Papa and I make regular trips to the library to borrow reading material. Usually, we come home with a tote bag full and most are the ones I’ve chosen to read. I’ve been known to check out six or seven books and have them all finished by their due date in two weeks.

All of that stacks up to a lot of books read. They range from modern fiction to biographies to non-fiction to classic literature.

At the start of this year, I decided to keep a running list of all of the books I read in 2018 for two reasons.

One was that I found myself either checking out the same book twice from the library or opening one on my e-reader and realizing I’d already read it.  I don’t prefer to re-read a literary work very often unless it’s one I absolutely love like my Bible, which I do read over and over again.

The second reason I began a “books read” list is because I actually wanted to keep track of how many I read in one year’s time. So far, my total is 105 with three more months in the year to go. I’m not sharing these facts to brag, I’m just attempting to reveal how much I enjoy reading.

This past week, Papa and I celebrated our wedding anniversary – 41 years of marriage to be exact. Since he had to attend an important meeting on the very day of our anniversary, we celebrated earlier. We didn’t go all out and indulge in anything extravagant but chose a simple celebration.

We opted for a lovely meal at a local restaurant, just the two of us. Then we set off on a leisurely drive off the beaten path and wound up in a nearby suburb of our nearest city. What did we do there? We spent quite a bit of time browsing in a store.

But not just any store. Our outing wouldn’t be considered very exciting to some folks but for us, it was perfect. We perused the many aisles of the Half-Price Book Store. 

Since Papa is an avid reader also, any book store is like a siren song to both of us – it just draws us into its folds. We even stopped at a used book sale at a library we noticed while driving through a quaint little Vermont town on vacation this past summer.

We didn’t buy any books at that library’s sale, but it was fun to browse. Actually, we seldom do purchase books any more, whether they be paperback or hardback versions, because honestly, our shelves are too full.  Boxes of unpacked books from our move into this home 18 years ago still sit in our basement. 

But at that half-price bookstore the other day, we did splurge a little and bought a few paperback bargains. For Papa and me, it topped off a nice day doing something we loved with the one we love.

A little bit like a book-lover’s dream.

“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” ~ Neil Gaiman

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

WordFULL Wednesday: Then and Now

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“I want to feel your hand in mine as we walk through life. Together.” ~ Unknown

 

blogmama-and-papa2

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

 

In celebration this month of October for 41 years of marriage, the words in these quotes hold true for the Papa and Mama of this empty nest. 

May it always be so.

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Walk the walk and talk the talk

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Early morning walk

It regularly occurs three times a week. Just about every week. Always in the same place. Same time. Come rain, snow, or sunshine.

What is it? It’s a one-hour – give or take a few minutes – early morning walk outside.

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you may remember that I have three life-long friends – dear-to-me ladies that I have been friends with for well over 50 years although  I lived hundreds and even thousands of miles away from them for many of those years.

I count myself extremely blessed to have friends like these. These confidantes are women I trust completely, ones I can share anything at all with and know it’s held in complete confidence.

I live closer to them now, but only one of the three resides in my neck of the woods. 

So I talk via cell phone until my battery goes dead with my good friend Leigh (not her real name) every few weeks.

I meet occasionally for several hours-long lunches every few months with my close friend Anne (also not her real name).

And a couple of years ago, my life-long friend, May, (yes, there’s a pattern here) actually moved into her parents’ former home which is located less than a mile away from my house.

Since that time, the two of us embarked on a plan.

Last fall, May and I decided to take walks together. We decided that we’re not getting any younger, so we needed to begin some kind of wellness/fitness program that was simple and easy for us to do. And since both of us are semi-retired, our days include a little more free time now to accomplish our plan.

So we convinced one another to start walking. We began slowly, not over-doing it with distance or pace. Eventually, we extended our walks to cover more distance and we plan to increase that again soon.

Three early mornings a week, every week, we stagger out of bed, meet up, and commence our walks in a safe, quiet area where there are smooth sidewalks and very little traffic. 

If it’s raining, we brandish our umbrellas against the rain drops and wear rain ponchos unless it’s storming with lightning and thunder.

If it’s snowing or cold, we just bundle up to look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man with hats on our heads and gloves on our hands.

If it’s hot and steamy with humidity, we arise earlier in the morning to beat the heat.

But our morning walks don’t just do our physical bodies good. Our walks do good for all aspects of our lives. Because we don’t just walk.

We talk. We talk without stopping. We talk the entire time we walk. Often we walk as fast as we talk (and that’s fairly fast most of the time).

“The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk.” ~ Mark Twain

What do we talk about? Everything.  Our discussion agenda never withers as we don’t seem to run out of things to converse about. 

We share aspects of our lives that we wouldn’t divulge to others. We solve all the problems of this world in our discussions. We tell funny stories. We recall sad ones. We chat about life, family, work experiences, recollections from the past, entertainment, you name it.

We encourage one another, applaud one another, and yes, sometimes we gripe to each other about stuff that ticks us off.  May was my very first best friend and in 59 years of friendship, neither one of us can name one instance where we were angry with each other or exchanged heated words.

Friendships like ours which endure a long time are rare indeed, I think.  I am blessed to have such a friendship with such a loyal friend. And I’m blessed to spend time with her on our early morning walks.

Three times a week. Every week. Come rain or come shine.

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

WordFULL Wednesday: today

blogIMG_4911It’s Wednesday. That day in the middle of the week. “Over the hump” day. Halfway from one weekend to the next one.

For several years now, Wednesdays here in Mama’s Empty Nest have meant one thing. Wordless Wednesday. The day when I don’t share my thoughts, instead I reveal just a photograph sans words. Hence, Wordless Wednesday.

I started seriously blogging when I launched Mama’s Empty Nest in the summer of July 2010 and for a solid year, I blogged several times a week with words that just flowed onto my computer screen like a never-ending shower.

But something changed one year later. By the summer of 2011 – July to be exact – I began utilizing Wordless Wednesday in my blog posts. It wasn’t my original idea; I had seen other bloggers do the same, so yes, I was a copycat.

Something had changed. I remember going through a dry spell when the shower of words became more like a sprinkle. In conjunction with that, taking photographs with my small point and shoot digital camera became a fun hobby.  

And so, because of a lack of words, Wordless Wednesday became a reality. I posted one of my photos just about every Wednesday from then on – seven years’ worth of pictures.

A couple of years later, I was gifted with my DSLR camera and Wordless Wednesday became more of a joy than a necessity because my photos were so much clearer, better, and more expressive.

But you know what Elton John once sang? “Change is gonna do me good.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about change this week. In yesterday’s post, I wrote about a change of attitude that we Americans need to take with our words. 

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” ― Libba Bray

Changes will be felt here in Mama’s Empty Nest.

As I sit here at my desktop computer in our home office, I glance out the window and see a definite change of seasons before me. Summer flowers have faded and died and we removed their porch box homes. Little dots of fall color catch my eye here and there among the still green leaves on our trees.

Change. It’s coming. It’s inevitable. And often very necessary.

So no doubt, it’s past time for a little change on my blog.  I still want to showcase some of my photographs and probably will continue with Wordless Wednesdays on occasion when the words get jammed up and don’t flow easily.

But I want to try something different.

This new direction is entitled WordFULL Wednesdays – again, not my own creation, just with my own spin to it.  I imagine those posts won’t be long, but perhaps just short snippets that complement one of my photos, possibly just a quote.  

Those who have read my writing for long will know that I am a quote lover (that old quote notebook that I keep writing in is getting thicker and thicker).  So sometimes I may just include someone else’s words in an appropriate quote along with my picture.  

So here is today’s WordFULL Wednesday.

While on vacation in New England this past summer, I noticed this sign posted outside of a religious organization. It spoke to me and I made Papa stop the car so I could take this picture.

Those words on that sign are exactly what I needed to see. To read. To hear. And maybe you need them as well.

Go slow. What’s your rush?

Savor the day. It’s the only today we have, find something to enjoy about it.

Maybe a bit of enjoyment will come from my WordFULL Wednesdays. I hope so. I know it will for me.

“Forget yesterday—it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow—you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift—today.” ~ Steve Maraboli

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Sticks and stones

blogIMG_4334Recently, I perused back over my photos from Papa’s and my summer excursion to New England pondering over which ones to post, which ones might give me some inspirational fodder for blog posts, which ones were worthy of sharing here in Mama’s Empty Nest.

And I found two photos that really caused me to contemplate, not necessarily because of the subjects of the photos but because of where my mind ventured while examining these pictures.

Sticks.

That’s the first photo above. Stopping inside the first visitor’s center we encountered in the state of Vermont, we observed this wonderful sculpture of a horse. I failed to write down the artist’s name and have since forgotten it, but this work of art immediately caught my eye.

The sculpture consisted of pieces of tree boughs, possibly driftwood, woven together to make the frame of the horse. Intriguing enough. But what truly caught my eye was that the lengths of wood were hand painted in a patriotic theme of red, white, and blue. And printed on the boughs were words from our country’s Pledge of Allegiance and other American patriotic works.

blogIMG_4335This piece of art once again reminded me of what a great nation we truly have here in the United States and how blessed we have been. Having just commemorated this month the 17th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on our country,  those thoughts are fresh on my mind.

Joined together like those sticks forming that horse, Americans come together and stand united even through trials and difficulties and attacks. Or at least we have always done so in the past.

Stones.

Once we finished our sight-seeing in Vermont, we traveled next door to New Hampshire – the state well-known for its granite.

We stopped at a rest area where even the curbs were made of this hard substance and I snapped this photo of a piece of granite there with New Hampshire’s state motto inscribed upon it: “Live free or die.”

blogIMG_4481Americans have always been made of strong stuff like granite. We roll with the punches and don’t give up. It’s been ingrained in us since the Revolutionary War days when our colonial forefathers refused to take any guff from the King of England. We fought hard and long for our independence from another nation and we won it. 

Freedom is another blessing we possess in this country and it’s important enough to die for. At least, it used to be.

So where am I going with this? As I viewed those two photos on my computer screen, these words came to me.

Sticks and stones.

And these words followed.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”

Remember that old adage that we used to hear as children? It’s never really made sense to me because of course, if you’re beaten with a stick or a stone, you come away battered and bruised and possibly with broken bones. But words….words have so much more power than sticks and stones.

“Sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” ~ Robert Fulghum

Words have the power to break us down mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even to the point of physical breakdown. And it seems to me that we Americans are throwing around an awful lot of reckless, harmful words at each other lately.

Words that hurt. Words that harm deeply. Words that incite anger, even rage. All because we don’t agree. How did we get to this point? Where we can’t calmly agree to disagree?

I no longer trust people’s words. I don’t believe the words politicians throw around. I don’t believe the words blasted across our television screens or the radio airwaves or online whether it be on social media or on various websites.  

I can’t believe those words and I don’t want to even listen to them. They make me angry. They make me incredibly sad. They destroy the notion of good will to all. And if we’re not willing to stop this madness, I honestly believe we will destroy our nation.

There is only one source I can go to for words that I can believe, words I can rely on. Words that don’t decimate. Words that don’t damage. Words that aren’t full of ugliness, bitterness, and rage.

The words I can believe are written in my Bible. So often they are the words of my Savior or of his devoted Apostle Paul or of the shepherd turned king, David. Words that strengthen me, encourage me, give me hope, and fill me with compassion for my fellow human being.

And while sticks and stones could certainly break my bones, the Word of God will never harm me or you. That I can count on. And that’s what I stand upon with hope that if enough of us speak words modeled after God’s Word, we can change the direction we seem to be taking. 

Our words flinging sticks and stones at each other can be turned into words of healing and hope.

“Societies aren’t made of sticks and stones, but of men whose individual characters, by turning the scale one way or another, determine the direction of the whole.” ~ Plato

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

When summer goes to bed

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Now that’s a real flower bed!

The heat and humidity were sent packing for a couple of days this week when the leftover traces of Hurricane Florence breezed into our neck of the woods. 

My heart goes out to those who lost so much in the throes of that storm and I’m grateful to live where I do where the only after-effects we usually receive from hurricanes are a bit of rain.

I’m hoping summer is fading fast and ready to be put to bed. After all, the first official day of the autumn season is in sight.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I am not a summer lover. I’d like that season better if it was mellower and didn’t grab us, thrown us down, and hold us in a headlock of sweltering weather.

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

So of course, I am more than ready for a change of season. In my book, you can’t go wrong with fall. But even saying that, there is one thing I will miss about summer.

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Not my garden, but isn’t it beautiful?

The bright blooms in our flower garden, the little bursts of colorful wildflowers that grow on the sides of the roadways, and when there’s enough moisture throughout the season, the verdant color of green leaves and grass.

So before the reds, golds, oranges, and yellows of autumn start flaunting their gem-toned colors, I’ll offer up one last tribute to summer’s blossoms. One last hurrah. And then I want to send it off to dreamland.

“Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January.” ~ Hal Borland

While Papa and I were vacationing in New England, it was still June and summer’s colors were in abundance. The lovely scent and pretty pink of sea roses along the coast of Maine caught my eye.

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And the plethora of spiky purple, lavender, and pink lupine we viewed all through our travels up north garnered my attention and begged to have their photos taken.

blogIMG_4820But it’s time to say farewell to them all. And welcome to fall. And I am ready.

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.” ~ Sarah Helen Whitman

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com