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



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




When summer goes to bed


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.

blogIMG_4910 (2) (1)

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.


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



How the west was won (by camera)

blogIMG_2677 (2)Arizona. When mentioning this state, my mind used to conjure up visions of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, and then nothing of interest in between but desert and of course, the Grand Canyon.

Prior to our winter’s journey westward, I had never stepped foot in the state of Arizona. Papa had been to those Arizona cities a couple of times for annual sales meetings when he worked in the corporate world and he returned home with tales of palm trees, swimming pools, and golf courses.

But what a different Arizona we found on our trip. Sure, there were palm trees and swimming pools (one right in my sister’s back yard but it was too chilly to swim), and there were bright patches of almost abnormally green golf courses here and there, but there was so much more of interest to see in the part of the Sonoran Desert where we visited.

“Almost everyone in the world knows something about Arizona, and some of it is even true.”  ~Jim Turner, Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State, 2011

I didn’t envision a beautiful body of water like Lake Havasu or the gigantic red rock gorges surrounding the Colorado River. Or that I’d cross the London Bridge in the desert.

I didn’t even imagine that folks would pull their RVs out into the expanse of the landscape with no one else in sight to go dry camping.

I never dreamed I’d get my kicks on Route 66. Or that I’d feed wild burros in an old former ghost town that was once the scene of a gold mine rush. 

Or that I’d relish the thrill of ATV riding on winding, hilly desert trails out in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t expect to get my face a little sunburned even though I was dressed in a shirt, jeans, denim jacket, and knitted scarf around my neck because it was 56° F and downright windy enough to chill your ears.  

And I didn’t think I’d constantly be pulling my camera up to my eye. 

But I did.

I stuffed my eyes and my SD card full of Arizona and I’ve only shared a portion of my treasures. 

So to wind up this series on our trip to this southwestern state, here’s a look at some of the other photos I captured on our journey. 

You might say it was, for me, how the West was won….by the viewfinder of my DSLR camera.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder.” ~ Ray Bradbury

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