Posted in Blogging

Writing signposts

blogIMG_1009 (2)One of the best compliments I ever received was from an acquaintance.

My acquaintance is not someone I know very well although we both were members of an organization a few years ago and that was our connection.  We do have a few things in common, one of those is that both of us love to write.

I’ve been writing this blog for over eight years now and at some point during that time,  this lady told me she loved my writing so much because she felt like she was right there with me experiencing what I wrote. She called my writing vivid.

Wow. That blew me away. And I’ve never forgotten what she said. What writer doesn’t want to hear that? Receiving that kind of compliment from a fellow writer was exceptionally meaningful and encouraging for me as I continued to write in this Mama’s Empty Nest blog.

This blog, this place where I try to put my thoughts into encouraging words. Where I share aspects of life that mean the most to me – my faith, my family, my friends, my view of the world around me, the aspects of life that amaze or astound me.

This spot where I frequently take inspirational insights given to me by my Heavenly Father and attempt to share them with the world.

This site where I regularly pour out my heart in hopes of striking a positive chord with my readers out there in this too often negative, discouraging atmosphere we call life.

Sometimes I’m pleased with the words I summon up in my mind and plunk down on that blank computer screen. Sometimes I agonize and struggle to unite my thoughts with words that truly encapsulate my message.  

Will my readers get my drift? Will they understand what I’m endeavoring to say?

Is my writing clear? Is it expressive? Does it reach the very hearts of my readers?

That’s what I strive to do. I don’t write my blog to garner accolades, although I do appreciate compliments and encouraging comments from my readers. Those mean the world to me.

I don’t write to become the next best-selling author, although that certainly would be exciting. I don’t write in hopes of becoming a social media sensation, go viral, or invite fame. 

I haven’t developed a writing platform or marketing strategy. I don’t even promote my writing much except on my personal Facebook page and my Mama’s Empty Nest Facebook fan page. 

I write because it’s what I do. It’s hard to describe to someone who isn’t a writer. It’s like this huge cache of words are bottled up inside your very self and you have to let them escape because they can keep you up at night if you don’t write them down.

And for me, without trying to sound too ethereal, writing is like a calling. In my case, the calling often comes from the Lord.

He prompts me to tell my stories, to share my joys and even sorrows, to point readers to His Word to give hope and inspiration, to connect with my readers in a way that positively resonates with them. To shed a bit of light in a dark world. To provide a spot where goodness and kindness beam forth.

And if I succeed, then I’ve fulfilled my purpose in writing.

But I must admit that sometimes I get discouraged.

Sometimes I wonder if taking time and effort to reflect over ideas, search God’s Word, and contemplate over just the precise words to convey my point is worth it.  Other than my few regular reader/fellow blogger friends and personal friends and family, does anyone out there in cyberspace actually read what I write?

I don’t have a clue who reads my writing unless those readers comment or click on the “like” button here on Mama’s Empty Nest or on my Facebook blog fan page. And it surprises me when suddenly a comment appears and a reader informs me he/she has been reading my blog for years and has never commented before. Feedback like that motivates me to continue; there just doesn’t seem to be much of it at times.

Oh, WordPress gives me a stats report to show how many readers clicked on my link each day but even though I supposedly have followers well over the thousand mark and seem to acquire new followers, the actual numbers on the stats bar graph are small, barely breaking the one-hundred line.

Every so often, I’m tempted to “throw in the towel.”  Ignore the computer keyboard. Just stop writing. Motivation wanes. Ideas with coherent paragraphs to link it all together just don’t come easily.

And I wonder if the words that I anguish over, pray over, delve up from the depths of my mind and soul… I wonder….do they even matter?

Just last week, another acquaintance informed me that she loves reading my “messages” but hadn’t been taking time to read my blog posts on a regular basis.  Oh, how I get that. Life gets in the way.  So many more important aspects demand utter priority in life than taking the time to read someone’s blabbering online.

I understand that full well and I realize she didn’t need to offer a bit of apology because honestly, it does not surprise me that folks don’t have or take time to read my blog every day.

But her next statement warmed my heart.  “I have been reading them again and you truly are gifted with writing abilities. Keep it up, you are inspiring me,” she wrote. 

Just to know that on that day one person read my blog, and it impacted her enough not only to disclose it but also inform me that my words inspire her….well, shucks, isn’t that what it’s all about?

My purpose in writing. My purpose is writing. My purpose may be for you.

Whether it inspires one person or one thousand or one million, it means the same to me.  Using my words, I connected with another human being in a positive manner. Using my words, I brought meaning to someone’s life that day and it was good.

So I will continue my calling. To write the words I’ve been given to say. To show you the world through my eyes and from my heart so just maybe it helps you, encourages you, inspires you.  

When traveling down the highway of life, there are so many signposts. It can be completely confusing. We search desperately for the signs that show us the right way to go.

My hope is that my writing is like a signpost offering a little guidance for us – you and me – to navigate our way through life. And that’s good enough for me.

“Good writers are in the business of leaving signposts saying, Tour my world, see and feel it through my eyes; I am your guide.” ~ Larry King

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Posted in Blogging, photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Firing up inspiration

blogIMG_1825 (2).jpgSometimes my think tank runs dry. There’s just no fuel in there.

And when that happens, I find myself without the energy I need to get those creative juices flowing again. No topic springs to mind jump-starting my brain and causing an imaginative spark to ignite. Often times I’m just running on empty.

That’s one of the reasons why, for the last couple of years, I’ve enjoyed the weekly photo challenges Word Press published each week. Each weekly theme provided fodder for thought. And thought usually led to a photo I’ve taken either from my files or one I chose to capture just for the challenge. And viewing the actual picture prompted more creative fuel producing written blog posts to accompany the photo.

But the photo challenges have officially ended while the creative folks at Word Press move on in a different direction, and I’m going to miss them.  I know there are other picture challenges out there in cyber-land, but I’m just too lazy unmotivated to spend time searching for one that strikes my fancy.

So I must revert to igniting my own creative fires when it comes to writing this blog. Whoo-boy, that’s a more difficult challenge than simply opening up an email and saying, “Ah yes, a theme!” and tap, tap, tapping away at my computer keyboard.

When I first launched this blog, prior to engaging with the photo challenges, I summoned up my own creative ideas, studied my surroundings and God’s Word, and thoughtfully considered things I’d read, seen, or experienced as worthy writing fodder.

In my defense, my life was a bit simpler back when this empty nest blog became reality. My grown children were all off on their own and living far from home, and the Papa of this empty nest still toiled full-time long hours at his job.

And even though I worked at a part-time job myself, I still had a whole lot of free time on my hands. Time I didn’t know what to do with. So almost eight years ago, I started seriously blogging and Mama’s Empty Nest breathed life.

As time progressed though, I started relying more on the photo challenges and Wordless Wednesday for blog posts instead of my own creativity. It was easier and less time consuming and if I’m honest, also less tiring.

I could sit down at my desktop, peruse my photos, and start composing an accompanying blog post personifying the weekly theme. And I cranked one out just about every week. Wordless Wednesdays were even simpler – choose a photo, type in a title, and voila! A blog post.

In the last couple of years, I just haven’t possessed as much open, free, and uninterrupted time like I once did, so yes, I confess I grabbed the easy route like a white-water rafter tossed overboard grabs a well-placed tree branch in the river to save him.

Time with little or no distractions is still an issue since I watch my three-year-old grandchild while her mama works.  And other issues often prevent me from sitting down in front of my computer screen to get my thoughts down in writing.

Changes happen. It’s just the way life is. And stages of life come and go, reminding me of an old 1960’s Herman’s Hermits song, “years may come, years may go, some go fast, some go slow…”

With each new change that comes along, I must learn to adapt and go with the flow. So as one chapter ends – my use of weekly photo challenges (unless I find another interesting one) – another must begin. Because of this, I may not post as often until I get some creative inspiration flaring again, so I’m preparing you, my faithful readers.

Please don’t give up reading my blog because of that.  I’ll still be here. Just maybe not as often.  But then again, you never know. If creativity sparks a flame, I may post as regularly as before if not more.  Hope springs eternal, you know.

“Don’t fan the flames of despair. Ignite the spark of hope instead.” ~Doe Zantamata

And hopefully, something will light my fire every week and inspiration will come, even if I have to chase after it.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Posted in Blogging

Let a little sunshine in

sunshine award.png

To borrow a line from John Denver, “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.”

We just returned from a long weekend trip yesterday where we experienced a little rain but a good portion of sunshine as well.

Last week, preparing to pack, do laundry, run errands, and all the other items on a pre-trip list that must be attended to prevented me from getting any blog posts ready to publish this week.

But….another blogger came to my rescue with sunshine. Anstalmi at Inspiring Images honored my blog with the Sunshine Blogger Award.

I know many bloggers don’t participate in these award thingies, but my feeling on them is if someone takes the time to read what I write, is in some small way blessed because of it, and in turn wants to bestow a little blessing on me, I should acknowledge that and be grateful.

So thank you, anstalmi, for being so kind and providing a little ray of sunshine in my blogging world. (And giving me something quick and easy to write about for today’s post!)

The Sunshine Blogger rules include:

  • Thank the blogger(s) that nominated you in the post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 8 -11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo on your post and/or in your blog.

Here are anstalmi’s questions for me with my answers in italics:

  1. Name a person who had a great influence on you. My parents had the greatest influence on me since they were my first teachers providing me with such great role models on how to be a decent, caring human being.
  2. Name an event (or more than one if you like) that had a great influence on you. Being diagnosed with cancer makes you realize what’s important in life. And that’s what happened to me. It also caused me to truly take stock and decide that I needed to forgive someone.
  3. What would you like that you have not yet achieved? Oh, like anyone who calls herself a writer, I’d like to finish a novel someday. And by finish, I mean write it, I’ve finished reading more novels than I can count.
  4. Name something or someone that you are proud of. My children have and continue to make me proud. They’ve turned into amazing adults and I’m not taking credit for that. Being grounded in their faith makes them such great individuals.
  5. Name something that you have done that you are proud of. I would have to say one of the things that I’m proud of is writing this Mama’s Empty Nest blog and sticking with it as long as I have – over eight years.
  6. Why do you blog? I have to get those words out of my head somehow! If you want to know more, check out my About Mama page. 
  7. Who do you look up to? I have two prayer warrior friends who I admire so much for their faithfulness in praying for others. Another person I look up to is one of my professors from my university days who also is someone I’ve known my entire life. And guess what? He HAS written a novel…actually several.
  8. Where in the world would you like to go that you have not yet been to? Hands down, it would have to be Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. Then Australia.
  9. If you could change one (ok, or more) things about you, what would that be? Oh my goodness, it would be easy to make a long list because there are so many areas of my life I could improve upon. I’m not concerned about physical appearance at all though because, at my age, the way I look is just life. But I am concerned about what kind of person I am and I keep attempting to change into a more patient one. 
  10. Do you have a cause?  What is it? There are causes I support, but I’d rather say I have a purpose to believe in. And that’s to encourage and bless others through God’s Word and the words He often inspires me to write in my blog.
  11. If you could spend a day with someone no longer with us, who would it be and why? My maternal grandmother. Both she and my grandfather passed away when I was nine, and I have so many questions now that I would have liked to have asked them. But as a child, you don’t realize what may be important to you as an adult.

Okay, that was the easy part. Now comes the difficult element. I’m not sure I can nominate 8-11 other bloggers who participate in these type of awards but I will list a few of my favorite blogger friends (but please do not feel obligated to participate) who deserve the Sunshine Blogger Award.  

You all bring sunshine into my life every time I read your blog posts. And when you click on Mama’s Empty Nest and read thoughts that I manage to convey via computer keyboard into cyberspace and leave such encouraging comments, you really cause golden rays of sunshine to make me happy. 

If you want to spread a little sunshine yourself with the Sunshine Blogger Award, here are my 11 questions for you:

  1. Honestly now, could you live without your cell phone? Why or why not?
  2. If someone were to name your greatest achievement in life, what would you want to be remembered for?
  3. When you smell your favorite aroma, what does it make you think of?
  4. What is the most vivid dream you can remember?
  5. Have you made a bucket list and if so, what’s the #1 item you want to cross off?
  6. What is your best personality trait and your worst?
  7. What would be your ultimate dream career?
  8. You just won $10 million, what will you do with the money?
  9. Where is your favorite vacation spot and why?
  10. Which do you prefer, reading on an e-reader or reading a book with paper pages?
  11. Country life or urban dweller? What’s your preference and why?

“Happiness us 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 redoubled brightness. It is not perfected until it is shared.” ~ Jane Porter

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Posted in Blogging, Life, Uncategorized

Life’s piano

blogIMG_3977.jpgToday is  the last day of the 3 Day, 3 Quote Challenge. I enjoyed participating and adding a little tweak to the challenge by using my own photographs to accompany each quote and adding another related quote at the end of each post.

Thank you again to my blogging friend Yamina at Faith/Love/Soul who sent me the original challenge.

I nominate any of you fellow bloggers out there to accept the challenge and pass it on.

Happy Quoting!

“Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” ~ Tom Lehrer

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Posted in Blogging, encouragement, Life

Wednesday with words

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I’m taking a little deviation from the norm on this Wednesday and posting a photo with words instead of my usual Wordless Wednesday. I agreed to the 3 Day 3 Quote Challenge extended to me by my blogging buddy Yamina at Faith/Love/Soul. Thank you again, Yamina, for nominating me.

If you missed my post yesterday, click here to read more. In order to fulfill the rules of this challenge, I’d like to nominate any of my blogging friends willing to take up the gauntlet of posting three quotes for three days in a row. You don’t have to use photos like I did, just post quotes if you’d like.

Marrying my love for quotes with my photography hobby has been fun and more challenging for me.

I captured this photo near Asheville, North Carolina one summer in the early evening. I remember how well the sun’s rays radiated through the clouds in this photo and I knew it was a perfect fit for the Corrie Ten Boom quote.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian whose family hid Jews in their closet during World War 2 helping them escape from the terror of the Holocaust, spoke volumes about her faith in this quote. 

She knew firsthand how to let God’s promises overcome her problems. Both she and and her sister were imprisoned by the Nazis in a concentration camp for their actions, and at least one of her family members died in prison if I recall correctly.

“God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”  ~ Dwight L. Moody

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Posted in Blogging

To quote or not to quote

blogDSCN0239.jpgIf you’re a regular reader of Mama’s Empty Nest, you probably have noticed by now that I love quotes. My “signature” at the end of each blog post I compose includes an accompanying quote fitting the subject. 

I’ve always loved words. And I’ve always enjoyed reading other’s words especially when they invoke profound meaning or touch my heart in some way. 

That’s why I keep quotes. I truly do. I started a quotes notebook in my college days (more than 40 years ago). I have retained that old notebook, now filled with pages of handwritten quotes I’ve gathered, and open it regularly.

In between the hand-written lined pages, more inspirational sayings written on scraps of paper, are stuffed. I keep adding to my treasured notebook whenever I come across a quote that ‘speaks’ to me.

A dear friend of mine once gifted me with a book of quotations, and I have another online version of a quotation book on my Kindle app. Those three sources are my go-to when I am in need of a meaningful saying.  And if I don’t find what I’m looking for in any of those, I tap into the internet.

Last week, one of my fellow bloggers, who also uses lovely quotations in her writing, nominated me for a perfect ‘throw down’ – the 3 Day 3 Quote Challenge.

So this week on Mama’s Empty Nest is going to be a bit different. Instead of publishing written posts with my own thoughts, I will combine this quote challenge with another activity I enjoy – photography.

It will kind of be like what I post on Wordless Wednesday except with words. A photo with a quotation that fits it well like my first entry above.

But first things first, I must thank my blogger friend Yamina at Faith/Love/Soul for nominating meThank you, Yamina! We have a shared love of good quotes!

Here are the rules for the 3 Day 3 Quote Challenge

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (one quote for each day).
  3. Nominate three bloggers each day.

Easy peasy except for rule number three; I struggle with that one. I know not everyone likes or wants to do these blogging challenges, so I may not be able to nominate three bloggers every day.

If I do nominate you, please don’t feel obligated to participate. You can just say “no, thank you” and I won’t be offended.

My Nominees:

  1. Dianna at These Days of Mine 
  2. Beth Ann at It’s Just Life
  3. Mother Hen at Words Like Honey 

To my readers, I hope you enjoy my responses to this challenge today, tomorrow, and Thursday.

And of course, I must sign off with yet another quote.

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” ~ Amy Poehler

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Posted in Blogging

Come grow with me

blogIMG_2415(2)
She’ll grow into it.

Growth. Isn’t that a good word to focus upon for a brand new year?

Growth involves change. Growth generates transformation. And with a pristine new year lying ahead of us, maybe it’s time to embrace some growth and step outside that limiting box of life that has become your comfort zone.

“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” ― Roy T. Bennett

I’ve been contemplating direction for this blog since January 1 rolled around. Do I want to change it? Do I want to grow my readership? And must I head down a different path to do so?

Should I embrace that word growth?

For over a decade I worked for a Christian non-profit organization. At each year’s end, we gathered together – staff and volunteers – for a lovely Christmas luncheon.

Great food and even better fellowship were just a couple of aspects we looked forward to, but one activity we participated in at the party caused our hearts to soar.

Prior to the gathering, our executive director would spend much time in prayer asking God to give her ‘words’ for us for the upcoming new year. Words that would become our focus for the new year to come.

Sometimes the words were contemplative, sometimes the words seemed odd.  Every staff member and volunteer in attendance would pluck a folded up small piece of paper from a basket we passed around the room. Written on those notes were the words.

But before we chose the new ones, we shared aloud what our past year’s word had been and how we saw it manifest in our lives. Sometimes there were tears as we shared, sometimes laughter, often wonderment.

One year, I distinctly remember receiving the word growth, but I honestly cannot recall if that word displayed any special meaning to me that year.  Had I embraced the word? I guess not.

I must have grown in some fashion that year because I believe we continue to grow in certain aspects of our lives just as surely as we age one year after another. I must have faced challenges to bring about growth, but whatever they were, they’ve faded away into the inconsequential file.

I do recall other words that I received over the years when I was a part of that ministry because they were particularly meaningful to me, but some I don’t remember at all.

Choosing a new word to focus life upon for the new year has become a ‘thing’ in certain circles, but I no longer participate in that endeavor. For me, it’s kind of gone the way of making resolutions, a practice I abandoned many years ago.

I don’t or won’t keep those pledges anyway, so why bother? It’s the same with choosing a focus word. Nine times out of 10, I’ll forget about my focus word or just won’t incorporate it into my daily life.  

All of this comes to mind today because of a weekly photo challenge theme  – growth

Maybe I’m just more of a go with the flow kind of person than I ever thought. Or maybe I’m just not disciplined enough. Possibly I’m just a tad rebellious and the thought of sticking to one word for the year makes me want to just say no.

Perhaps that’s really growth. Realizing who you are and accepting it. Going your own way instead of following the crowd.

And for now, that’s what I intend to do with Mama’s Empty Nest. Go my own way. Grow in my writing and not worry about growing my followers list. Keep doing what I’ve been doing because it works for me and it seems to encourage my readers.

That’s why I write. To be an encourager. To share what works for me and hope it helps someone else. To make connections with those who read my blog.  To write what inspiration God places on my heart.

And in the meantime, I’m betting I will experience growth.

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” ~ Eric Butterworth

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Posted in Blogging, New Year

Looking backward to go forward

blogIMG_2507(2)I know. It’s a new year. 2018 dawned on us all yesterday. But today, on this brand new day in a brand new year, I’m looking backward.

Why? I believe you can’t move forward until you understand where you’ve been before. And that might entail relegating the past to where it belongs – the past.

There’s something motivating about turning over a new leaf. Or beginning a new beginning. And to do so, I need to examine yesterday before launching into today or tomorrow.

Supposedly Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” I’ve searched for validation of that quote as being attributed to Einstein but it seems questionable he actually wrote or said this.

But it’s still good advice. And until I can decide what direction this blog will take for 2018, I’ve elected to look back over 2017. Maybe I can learn something from what I’ve written this past year.

I can remember joy from certain events I celebrated or learn a lesson from those things that caused me distress.

It’s worth an effort. So here’s a look back at my blogging in 2017 before I proceed with 2018.

I’m really not much of a mathematician (I have a degree in English after all), but I do like the orderly fashion of numbers and the pictures those figures present.

As I’ve said before, I’m a visual person so I kind of like statistics displayed on charts. Hence, in an accounting kind of procedure, I added up how many blog posts I published here last year.

134 posts. Out of 356 days of the year, I only blogged roughly 38% of the year. Hmm…that doesn’t sound so good, does it? I remember all too well that I definitely experienced some dry spells this past year in which writing inspiration just wasn’t firing up any connections.

Well, I rationalized to myself after figuring those numbers on my calculator, I choose to only post three times per week, not every day. So let’s amend that figure…3 times/week multiplied by 52 weeks/year.  That equals 156. So I posted 134 times out of 156 opportunities. Okay, a better figure comes from that – about 86%. Doesn’t that sound like I accomplished a lot?

Next, I calculated how many times I posted on particular topics because I truly wanted a good grasp on what this blog is about. The results were thought-provoking but not entirely unpredictable.

More than half the time I posted, I either shared a photograph I’d taken for Wordless Wednesday or I was stirred to write an accompanying post to a photo I believed embraced a photo challenge theme declared by Word Press each week.

So what does this tell me? I’m very inspired by pictures – both viewing them and taking them. And photographic images spark words to fly into my brain and land on the computer screen for me to share with my readers.  Yep, I’m visual that way.

The next most posted topic here at Mama’s Empty Nest for 2017 happened to be instances where I shared my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ or I blogged about miscellaneous topics ranging from thankfulness to experiences I encountered to life in general.

Again no surprises there. My faith is vital to me, so it naturally is a part of my life I want to share with others. For the other topics, well, I just love to tell a good story.

Falling into the third most written about category were posts about my family or my husband or our marriage.  Not unexpected. My family means the world to me and with many of them strewn from here to there, not living in close proximity to me, our times together are precious.

What topic closed out the year’s statistics? Friendship. I do often blog about the friendships I hold dear both in real life and in my blogging circles.

So where does all of this introspection of Mama’s Empty Nest leave me? Shall I continue the same pattern for this brand new year? Or do I shake it up a little, challenge myself, and take a leap into a different direction?

The verdict is still out on that one.

“New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.” ~ Alex Morritt

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Posted in blessings, Blogging, New Year

Out of the ordinary

blogIMG_2491(2)It’s Monday. And I don’t usually post here at Mama’s Empty Nest on Mondays.

But I ran across a quote last week that fits the bill today.

“Do something out of the ordinary. It not only creates a memory, it sets a standard.” ~ unknown source

So I’m doing something a little out of the ordinary by posting on a Monday. But this isn’t just any old Monday.

Today is the very first Monday in this brand new year of 2018.

2018!! My mind marvels that we are 18 years into this millennia. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were crossing our fingers that the Y2K bug wasn’t going to create havoc as predicted? And it turned out to be much ado about nothing. (Forgive me, William Shakespeare.)

Today is New Year’s Day. We said goodbye to the old year 2017 last night and we welcome in the new year with great expectations. (Forgive me, Charles Dickens.)

Today is a milestone. A day when many folks begin New Year’s resolutions. Or a diet. Or decide to make some kind of change in their lives.

Empty spaces on my new 2018 calendar remind me that I have the opportunity to live out that quote above. Do something out of the ordinary. Create memories. Set standards.

Empty spaces on this blog remind me that I have an entire year of writing to plan. I find myself contemplating how to proceed, what direction to take for this blog in this new year.  I do want to create lovely memories for folks to read about. And at the same time, I want to set standards for my blog as well.

So do I just continue doing what I’ve been doing? Writing as inspiration comes to me? Participating in weekly photo challenges so I can continue sharing what I enjoy – amateur photography? Lining up photos for Wordless Wednesday?

Should I select a theme for the year or concentrate on a special word that I’ve chosen as ‘my word’ for the year?

Perhaps I should reopen my “book of opportunity” that I wrote about back in 2011? Click to read Chapter One back then.

Or should I choose something completely out of the ordinary?

Maybe you, dear readers, can help me decide. I’d love to hear your feedback on what you’d like to see on this blog and even what you don’t want to see, so please leave a comment giving me your thoughts. 

In the meantime, I wish each and every one of you a happy and blessed New Year. And I leave you today, this first Monday of 2018, with an old Irish blessing (even though I’m not Irish, I love those blessings).

May the blessing of light be upon you,
Light on the outside, 
Light on the inside.

With God’s sunlight shining on you, 
May your heart glow with warmth, 
Like a turf fire 
that welcomes friends and strangers alike.

May the light of the Lord shine from your eyes,
Like a candle in the window, 
Welcoming the weary traveler.

Happy New Year from Mama’s Empty Nest! 

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com