A brand new page

blogIMG_4917It’s here.  It says so right here on my brand new calendar.  The one with empty spaces for each new day in this new year of 2015.  Two thousand and fifteen.  Two thousand and fifteen!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that the entire world worried their gigabytes off because the page was turning over to the year 2000 and all of those ‘experts’ predicted a major catastrophe as we reached Y2K?  Y2K, the year 2000. 

Well, of course the year 2000 arrived and passed by without a glitch. And here we are 15 years later welcoming in another new year. It’s true what my wise Daddy used to say that the older you became the faster the years flew by.  And we’ve just put another year on the back shelf.

What lies ahead is anyone’s guess but I know one thing.  We will fill up those empty spaces on the calendar with the everyday task of living if the Lord gives us a year full of new days.  But just living is not how I want to spend these blank spaced days on my calendar of life. 

I want to fill those days with wonder.  With joy.  With love.  With exuberance.  With amazement.  With opportunity.  With thanksgiving (yes, I haven’t given up that word yet).

In years past, I either chose or was given a new word for each year – a word that might manifest itself in some way to prove amazing or noteworthy as it worked its way through the pages of my life.  Sometimes I struggled with those words – the ones like peace, strength, growth. 

This year, I haven’t chosen a word nor has one come across the crowded desk of my mind for me to take notice.  Out of the thousands and thousands of words in my native English language, I haven’t claimed one for my own.  And not a word has settled upon me and laid claim to me either.

Instead perhaps I should choose a different word for each day of the new year.  After all, a new year – one that’s sparkling clean with no dings or dents, no marks or notations, no regrets or regressions – presents itself for new ideas, new revelations, new…everything.

I’m not one for making resolutions every year.  I usually fail miserably at them, so I stopped torturing myself years ago.  But even though I don’t make resolutions, I do have resolve.  And though my slate is empty right now and my calendar is clear for the time being, I know there’s one thing I plan to muster up enough resolve to do this year.

I will take each fresh new day as it comes and see what the Lord will show me on that day because even when I can’t be completely faithful, God is.  Morning by morning, new mercies I’ll see.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-24  (NIV)

What about you?  How will you fill your new calendar in this brand new year?

“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” ~ Charles Kettering

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

All points bulletin: Empty Nesters

Dear Mama’s Empty Nest Readers,

Today’s post is a special request and I’m hoping you can help me out with this one. It’s an APB!  Yep, that’s what I said!  An APB (all points bulletin) for empty nesters!

I’ve been contacted by a researcher from the Steve Harvey Show in Chicago.  The show is looking for families who are soon entering the empty nest stage of life for a segment on the show.

If your last child is graduating from high school and you are facing the empty nest or know friends or family members who are and would be willing to be contacted by the show, please contact Ryan Porter at this email address:  ryan.porter@steveharveytv.com

Oh, and did I say he needs help with this one immediately?!  He’s on a deadline and if you contact him, he will be one happy camper!

If you want more information on Steve Harvey’s talk show, click here for the official website.

Thank you!!

Sincerely,

Mama’s Empty Nest

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Starting at the end

blogDSCN8418My year of writing in my book entitled Opportunity comes to a close today as this is the last page in the last chapter (Chapter 12, Page 31).

I opened Opportunity on New Year’s Day, 2011  and tonight at midnight on New Year’s Eve, this year of opportunity concludes.

In a few hours, 2011 will be relegated to the past.  It was a year to remember – a year our gracious Father God granted me to use as an opportunity to share my thoughts, my insights, my inspiration, and a bit of my life with you, my readers.

Some of you are the dearest of friends, some of you have become my friends even though we’ve never met face to face, and some of you I don’t know at all.   Regardless of your standing as my reader, I thank you for the privilege of entering your world via this blog.

I pray you’ve been blessed with a few laughs (I’ll admit I’m not much of a humor writer, but I am funny in person – at least I think so), some ideas to contemplate, and some perspectives that opened a few opportunities for you as well.

I believe God lovingly provides all of us new opportunities as surely as dawn breaks through each dark night into daylight.  What we do with those opportunities is ours to choose.

I ran across this poem one day and I placed it in my worn, dog-eared, trusty notebook of quotes.  But I’d like to share it with you, especially if you’re feeling discouraged or you’ve misplaced your hope or your dreams.

Opportunity

By Berton Braley

With doubt and dismay you are smitten,

You think there’s no change for you, son?

Why, the best books haven’t been written,

The best race hasn’t been run.

The best score hasn’t been made yet,

The best song hasn’t been sung,

The best tune hasn’t been played yet;

Cheer up, for the world is young!

Tomorrow we launch out into a brand new year, a new chance, a young world of opportunities.  I don’t make resolutions.  I’m not diligent in keeping them, but God has been showing me what I need to focus on.

I’m choosing how I will approach 2012 with a concept He’s placed in my heart and mind and I’ll share that with you in my next post and in the year to come.  Never fear, my signature book of Opportunity continues on, but there will be a new byword just for the new year.

So until then, Happy New Year!  May you be blessed in 2012 with much love, peace, and joy.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

What we call the beginning is often the end.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.” ~ T.S. Eliot

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Lest we forget the need

pexels-photo-271265.jpegAs I enjoyed a restful, relaxing Mother’s Day yesterday,  thousands of my fellow Americans exhausted themselves cleaning up from the aftermath of tornadoes in the deep South.

While I lathered myself up with soap in a hot shower, many of them have nowhere to wash their hands.

As I plugged in my hair dryer, hundreds and hundreds of Southerners are living without electricity.

While I turned on my faucet to fill my tea kettle with good, clean water for my morning cup of tea, scads of my fellow countrymen have no running water.

As I consumed a hot breakfast cooked over my own stove,  hundreds of tornado victims have neither stove nor hot food.

While I casually perused my closet to choose clothing for the day, their clothes have been destroyed or blown away.

As I rode in my own vehicle to attend church, many have been left without transportation and many have lost even their place of worship.

While I gaily chatted on the phone with each of my three grown children and felt blessed by their Mother’s Day wishes, hundreds of people still mourn the loss of their loved ones who were killed by the killer twister.

As I sat on my overstuffed, comfy chair with my feet propped up, my fellow human beings have no furniture to rest upon.

While I communicated on my blog, through email and Facebook with friends and strangers via my laptop, those who’ve lost everything feel cut off from the entire world.

As I lay in my warm, comfortable bed with a soft pillow for my head, plenty to eat and drink and a roof over my head,  countless of God’s beloved children have no place to rest and no place to call home.

There, but for the grace of God go I….and you….what are we going to do about it?

While I contemplate my blessings in my Opportunity book today on page 9 in Chapter 5, may I suggest you do the same?  Those of us who are blessed with much dare not forget about those who have lost everything in tornadoes and other disasters.

I urge you to consider donating monetary aid to the organizations helping our brothers and sisters in need.  Here are a few trustworthy organizations that can use your donations to directly help victims:

www.samaritanspurse.org

www.salvationarmyusa.org

www.redcross.org/

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

America the Beautiful??

pexels-photo-117146.jpegI don’t know how beautiful America is in your area of the country, but where I live, it’s not looking very beautiful.

Maybe if you only gaze up at the “spacious skies” you see beauty but I wouldn’t recommend looking by the side of the road.

I’m talking trash today.  No, I’m not trash talking about my country.  I’m talking about the trash that my fellow countrymen fling out their car windows.

I’m disgusted at the trash that lines the highways and bi-ways of my area of the country and from a little research online, it appears this is an unsightly and costly problem all over the United States.  Transportation departments across the country spend millions of tax dollars and countless hours each year picking up litter.  I wonder why we have become a nation of lazy, slovenly slobs and why we don’t have enough pride to keep our countryside and cities clean.

On my travels today, I couldn’t help but notice the outrageous amount of litter carelessly tossed beside the highway.   I don’t think I saw one stretch of roadside that didn’t have garbage strewn everywhere  – water bottles, soda pop cans, beer cans, paper, coffee cups, fast food wrappers, plastic jugs, newspapers, plastic bags, cardboard, Styrofoam, even articles of clothing!

The litter list was endless and it didn’t matter if I was on a four-lane highway or a two-lane country road.   The more I viewed the trash trail, the angrier I became, and then I came home and found other people’s refuse thrown into my own yard.

Grrr!  You may not care about your yard, buddy, but I don’t want your beer cans dumped in mine!   There is so much litter accumulated across from our driveway that hubby and I will have to fill up several garbage bags just so we don’t have to look at it.

When I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t even let me throw a piece of chewed gum out the car window.   Even in school we learned “Don’t be a litterbug!”  Now everyone – including adults who should know better – uses the berm of our roads as their own personal waste can.

So I’m addressing the people who trash toss.  Why are you too lazy to carry your own trash home with you and dump it in your own garbage can?  Or why don’t you find a public garbage can – located in most shopping centers or outside most stores – in which to discard your Big Gulp cup?

Why do you think the rest of us want to see miles and miles of discarded refuse along the side of the road?  Why don’t you care enough about the beauty of our country to clean up after yourself?  If you want to live like a pig, that’s your business, but please take your trash home to your own pig sty.

To me, it’s a matter of respect.  Respect for the beauty of our country, respect for other people and yes, even respect for yourself.   That kind of respect doesn’t seem to exist.  Children aren’t learning it and they sure are not seeing it modeled by the adults in their lives.  Especially when you whip that empty Happy Meal carton out the van window, Mom and Dad!

I admire those who “adopt a highway” for clean-up; hubby’s civic organization is one group that cleans up a local roadway three times a year.  And believe me, there’s never an absence of trash for pick up!  Armed with garbage bags galore, these volunteers don work gloves and walk the line beside our roads picking up the trash that others thoughtlessly throw away.  That’s right, Mr. and Ms. Litterer, they pick up after you because you won’t pick up after yourself.

“America the Beautiful” has become America the trashed.  Our amber waves of grain are infiltrated with garbage.  Those purple mountain majesties have refuse up and down the roads that lead to them.   Our alabaster cities no longer gleam because litter lines the streets and sidewalks.

So what can you do?  Here are just a couple of suggestions:

  • Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
  • Carry a litter bag in your car and dispose of it properly, in your own garbage can.
  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have lids that can be securely fastened so your trash doesn’t blow all over the neighborhood.
  • If you or your family members belong to a civic organization, church group, scouting or recreational sports teams, encourage your group to “adopt a highway” and maintain it on a regular basis.  Or your own family could “adopt a highway.”

Today in Chapter 4, Page 5 (April 5) in my book of Opportunity (2011), we can all do our part to keep America beautiful and be the kind of citizens “who more than self their country loved.”

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

America the Beautiful (lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, music by Samuel A. Ward)

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for heroes prov’d

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life.

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness,

And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Making Monday less melancholy

pexels-photo-97558.jpegMy favorite team lost.  It’s the Monday after the Super Bowl game and as Mondays go, it’s a little sad and depressing.

I’m certain the city’s a little melancholy today and gloomy skies casting a pall over the area and depositing chilly rain over us doesn’t help much.

Football is only a game though and losing the championship is not the end of the world.  Life goes on as it will even for those disappointed players.  Our team just didn’t play well enough, and the Green Bay Packers executed an epic win to take the Lombardi trophy back to “Titletown.” Congrats to that team, city and ardent fans!

And even though we cheered and grumbled, we waved our terrible towels and then some of us hid our heads under the towels when things got bad, we rallied then saw hope evaporate into reality, real Steelers fans are gracious in loss, still think the world of their favorite team and still display black and gold proudly.

I really am not a fanatic football fan, but I can appreciate a comparison between the game of football and life.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  Sometimes you play your heart out, sometimes that’s just not enough to secure a win.  Sometimes you work hard enough to wear yourself out and still life doesn’t turn out the way you planned.  Sometimes you make connections, sometimes you overthrow.  Sometimes you jump for joy feeling like you just scored the winning touchdown; sometimes you hang your head because you missed the goal post.

But even when your body aches from over exertion and your emotions make you feel defeated, you summon up some inner resolve and you start all over.  After all, just like Scarlett O’Hara opined in Gone With the Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Today on this seventh page of Chapter Two in my book of Opportunity, I can either let the dreariness of the weather, the loss of the Super Bowl or the fact that my nest is empty all over again get the best of me.  But that’s not what I’m going to do!

Instead I will be glad for the opportunity that we were given this weekend.  Oldest daughter flew home from Dixie for a few days.  She experienced an encouraging meeting that could lead her to a new route on her road of life.  And for that I am thankful and excited for her and the possibility that may develop.

Middle daughter didn’t have to work the nightshift the evening before the big game after all, so the four of us met for dinner and relished a Pittsburgh tradition – Primanti Brothers sandwiches – in a crowded restaurant where it seemed every single patron sported Steelers garb.  Hubby and I enjoyed the night out with our girls, chatting and catching up – a chance we cherished.

Afterwards, we came back to the empty nest homestead to watch “Despicable Me” together.  Fun, laughter and good times rang through Mama’s Empty Nest.   After church Sunday, hubby made a mean chicken white chili to share with fellow Steelers fans.  We ventured to the city to watch the big game at middle daughter’s apartment with a crowd of her twenty-something friends – such a spirit-lifter to be around boisterous young people again!

Gratefulness fills the empty nest today despite the grey skies, quietness of the house, loss for the Steelers and circumstances we still face.

Inspiration comes from this quote:  “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” ~ Samuel Johnson

And love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the only NFL football team with six Super Bowl wins under their belt.  That elusive seventh win is just going to take some perseverance.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

You can’t flow when you’re frozen

pexels-photo-806655.jpegThere’s snow business like snow business.

Seems like snow is on everyone’s mind lately and in front of our eyes too as the white stuff is making an appearance from the Midwest to the South and back again in my neck of the woods.

Cold weather has been a staple here, as it usually is in the winter months and that lacy-looking precipitation has covered the ground for many weeks.  A little snow squall is working its way by my house even now as I write this.

My oldest daughter lives in the Deep South. Snowflakes dancing through the air aren’t the norm there, but much of the south is currently blanketed by the flurrying stuff.  Daughter was slightly amused Sunday night when she texted me that her employer was closing down for Monday because of a “wintry mix” settling in the area – her first “snow day” there!

After the snow arrived, she was even more amused as evidenced by this status update on her Facebook page: “Seen in my parking lot: one guy staring at his snow-covered truck like he has no clue what to do about it, and another guy using what appears to be a comb to scrape his windshield. Living in the south is so entertaining sometimes.”

Of course, here in the homeland, hubby and I also sometimes chuckle by the frenzy snow evokes in some people.  Even here, the masses get absolutely frantic by the threat of a snowstorm.

However, that is nothing compared to the frazzled state we witnessed while we lived in the Pacific Northwest.  Drivers there would actually abandon their vehicles on the berms of the highways and streets…when there was maybe an inch or two of snow covering the road.

Last winter, we had a big dig-out after feet of snow was dumped in our area.  And guess what?  We didn’t starve, nor did we run out of toilet paper.  Okay, it did take us an entire day to dig our way out of our driveway, but we were on the road again by the next day.

Snow truly isn’t the end of the world.   And it’s actually quite beautiful if you can calm yourself down long enough to enjoy it.

Today on my travels with my work, I passed an artesian well that was frozen over.  What an amazing ice sculpture it made.  If you’re unfamiliar with what an artesian well is, here is a good explanation from wisegeek.com: “An artesian well allows water that has traveled through porous rock from a higher elevation to rise to the surface. This pumpless well seems to defy gravity because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock gets relieved when the water finds a path to the open air. For nearly a thousand years, people have drilled wells to drink this cold, filtered water that doesn’t need to be hauled up from the depths.”

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home in my hurry to leave this morning, so I don’t have a photo to show how eye-catching this sight was.  It was actually much more intricate than the picture I posted with this entry.  But you will have to take my word for it.

Observing this striking sight made me think about artesian wells spouting water up into the air for all to see and enjoy.  Contemplating thoughts about water always reminds me of passages from the Bible.  And as usual, an old song, “Spring Up, Oh Well” comes to mind.

“I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me.” “Spring up, oh well, within my soul. Spring up, oh well, and make me whole. Spring up, oh well, and give to me that life abundantly.”

And it occurs to me on Page 11, Chapter One (January 11) in my new book entitled Opportunity that I can’t allow that well to spring up in me if I’m frozen over like that artesian well I saw today.  The river of life that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior can’t flow out of me if I am stagnant in my faith.

I need to seek after Him through prayer, reading and studying my guidebook (Bible)  and sharing what I learn with others.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ ”  ~ John 4:13-14 (New International Version)

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Search and destroy becomes find and preserve

blog412Everywhere we turned, there was chaos.  The task before us seemed insurmountable, but it was time to roll up our sleeves and face the challenge head on.

It was a dirty job.  It was a tiring task.  It seemed like there was no end in sight.  But, we finally succeeded and conquered after two laboring days of toil.

Yep, hubby and I finally tamed the too-much stuff monster in the basement of our home.  We cleaned, we sorted, we organized, we tossed.

We managed to corral the stuff into four categories: keep and organize; haul out to the garbage for disposal; cart off to GoodWill for someone else’s use; and burn, baby, burn!

I still believe way too many items lurk in storage bins and boxes, but resting on shelves and nesting on top of each other, at least it looks manageable.  And items can be more easily found now.  Our grown-up children’s belongings are neatly stacked in boxes in areas reserved just for them.

Christmas decorations have found a new home, no more climbing up a ladder to retrieve them from the attic.  Come late spring, the basement will look even roomier when all of our deck and front porch furniture move back outside.

This task may not sound like something worthy of writing about on this ninth page of Chapter One (January 9th) in my book of Opportunity, but accomplishing it provided a chance to reflect on some food for thought.

Working side by side, hubby and I tackled the chore together, so much more enjoyable than attacking it alone.  We enjoyed the opportunity to talk as we toiled, we reminisced, we discussed, we laughed, and yes, we even disagreed.  But it felt great to complete the job as a team.

The second opportunity presented itself in boxes of memories.  Hubby discovered a forgotten box of some personal effects from his parents’ house giving him moments to remember and reminisce about his boyhood and his parents, who have been gone for many years now.

My opportunity for blessing came in the form of cherished letters written while hubby served in the military stationed on the other side of the world for a year while I, pregnant with our first child, tried to hold down the home front.  Today I read each of those letters in an effort to decide what to do with them – keep or destroy?

I decided to preserve those priceless memories written on paper, hopeful that someday our adult children (especially oldest daughter since she was born that year) may want to read them and get a glimpse at a year in the life of their parents.  Perhaps my opportunity will become their opportunity to understand how very much their parents loved one another and the struggle we endured being apart for an entire year.

So on this day, in the age of emails and text messaging, I will take the opportunity to save some good old-fashioned hand-written love letters.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Some homes look like “Better Homes and Gardens,” mine looks…lived in

pexels-photo-106936.jpeg

Not my house!

Wouldn’t it be nice to come home from work one day and find your living space as calm, neat and uncluttered as all the home magazine photos gazing back at you from the grocery store check-out line?

I’m not sure why I get a primal urge to purge my household in January, but obviously, magazine editors believe most American women get the same impulse.

Pick up any women’s publication and you will be bombarded with “10 easy tips” to organize your space so it will look like a photographer’s dream shot.

Pristine counters.  Neatly organized desk.  Uncluttered family room.  Carefully cleaned closets where everything is perfectly poised on shelves.  Supposedly.

Organizing your home takes time.  I wonder how many women have time to properly clean their houses, let alone time to stash everything in neat little rows of containers.  And that’s another thing.  Who can afford all of those nifty, spiffy bins, boxes and binders that perfectly match your décor?

I recently read an article in Better Homes and Gardens entitled, “25 Ways to Declutter for the New Year.”  Organizing experts provided the tips; some were useful, some I thought lacked practicality (my middle name!).

One guru suggested setting up a bookshelf perched by your front door with labeled pails (yes, buckets!) “for each family member’s shoes and other equipment.”  Hmm, ever tried getting pairs of size 11 men’s sneakers and soccer cleats in a bucket?

Do you know how many buckets – excuse me – pails it would take to store shoes for a family of five?  And might I add, that’s certainly what I want guests arriving at my front door to notice – buckets of smelly shoes.  Here’s a novel idea instead.  How about everyone pick up their own shoes and take them to their respective closets?

Is it me or is this idea just plain kooky?  Another expert suggested you arrange two coffee dates with a good friend, apparently one at her house, then one at yours.  Forget about a relaxing moment of peace with your friend and your favorite beverage.

Nope, on this visit, you should clean out her kitchen cabinets and get rid of her clutter.  Then on the next “date,” your friend should clean out yours.   Yeah, that sounds like (major sarcasm here) fun. I don’t know about you, but I’m not up for snooping in my friends’ kitchen cupboards nor am I crazy about them checking out mine either!

To be fair, some ideas proved winners.  If toys threaten to overtake your house, “quietly tuck a few of them away in a box. If kids ask for a specific item, retrieve it.  After a month, donate what’s left in the box.”   When three rambunctious young children squandered their toys all over Mama’s Empty Nest back in the day, hubby and I employed this technique…sort of.

Of course, we didn’t do it quietly.  When our kids delayed picking up their toys, we yelled, grabbed up all the toys and dumped them into a garbage bag which was deposited in the garage.   And it stayed there, promptly forgotten, until we found the “lost” toys when we prepared to move a couple of years later.

I don’t have to contend with toys any more, but a stockpile of too much stuff still overloads our basement.  How pleasant it would look organized in tidy fashion with shelves and color-coded storage containers like all of these pretty magazine pictures.   Oh well….no photographer will be taking pictures of my basement anyway!  At least I hope not!

So in Chapter 1, Page 7 (January 7th) of my book of Opportunity, guess where I spent a good portion of the day?  You guessed it, cleaning out the basement.  Hey, I can walk through it now!

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Just a box of rocks

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Have you ever just wanted to smack yourself silly because you couldn’t figure out something?

I encountered that this week while I was working on some statistical end-of-the year reports and I just couldn’t get my numbers to jibe.  Turns out I had made a dumb, small error that threw everything out of sync.

When that happens, a few phrases always come to my mind.  Quirky little sayings like “Couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag.”

Some funny descriptive expressions exist to paint a picture of myself doing something stupid or when I think someone else is being truly dumb.  I’ve uttered those locutions on more than one occasion, (ok, I can be honest and admit it) especially while driving or when people don’t do their jobs correctly.

I started thinking about these expressions and could name quite a few because after all, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck!  Here’s a sampling of those I could recall:

  • A few bricks shy of a load.
  • Her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.
  • Not playing with a full deck.
  • A few french fries short of a happy meal.
  • Not the brightest bulb on the tree.
  • The lights are on but nobody’s home.
  • Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • One taco short of a combination plate.
  • A few sandwiches short of a picnic.
  • Not the sharpest pencil in the box.
  • The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

And my all-time personal favorite – “The gate is down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming!”   Yep, sometimes people just seem “dumber than a box of rocks.”

My oldest daughter, a scientist who is definitely not dumber than a box of rocks, used to keep a box of rocks.  When she was younger, she would pick up stones wherever we roamed and find something that appealed to her about them, enough to want to squirrel them away.

She stashed them in a box in her closet, and that box always accompanied us on our moves cross country.  Matter of fact, I suspect that it still takes up residence with some of her other girlhood mementos on that closet shelf.  (Note to oldest daughter:  You forgot to go through your “too much stuff” when you were home.  Just a reminder from here:   https://mamasemptynest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/391/)

Some of the rocks were shiny, polished and even brightly colored, ones that she purchased with her souvenir money on our vacation trips.  Others were rough and ordinary looking, but in her eyes they must have been treasures.  I often wondered why she was so fascinated with those pebbles and stones.  Of course, to me they were just a box of rocks, and a heavy one to boot.

I was reminded of this yesterday while I was fighting with my column of numbers.  During my frustration, I glanced at the inspirational flip calendar on my desk.  In Chapter One, Page 5 (January 5th) of my book of Opportunity this was written:

“Rough treatment gives souls, as well as stones, their luster.  The more the diamond is cut the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, there God has no end in view but to perfect His people.” ~Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, writer/philosopher

When we encounter rough patches in our lives, we may think that we are dumber than a box of rocks, but God sees a diamond in the rough when He looks at us.  Often we have to endure the hard times because they give us the opportunity to really shine.

And I think my oldest daughter must have known this as a very little girl.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com