A simple daisy

Such a simple thing. The daisy.

Pristine white petals with a sunshine yellow center, daisies grow wild here and there and along our country roads during this time of year.

I admire their simplicity. And even though they don’t carry much of a scent, I enjoy plucking them from the ground and gathering them up into a bouquet of happiness and cheer.

There’s something about a daisy that makes me nostalgic as well. I recall picking daisies as a child/young teen and reciting the age-old saying, “He loves me, he loves me not” as I pulled those white petals off one at a time from the flower’s center.

What fun it was to end the last petal with “He loves me!” and wishing and hoping that were true pertaining to my latest crush.

Then I would grasp the flower’s remaining center between my thumb and forefinger, rubbing and squeezing the floral disc over the upturned palm of my other hand until all the tiny tubular flowers colored yellow, which comprised the daisy’s center, landed in my cupped hand.

After that, I would blow gently over my palm and watch as those tiny little bits of yellow took wing in the air. If there were any left, I would count them and that would foretell how many children I would have after marrying my “true love.”

A girlish dream all centered upon a simple daisy.

I still remember that little ritual when I see daisies in bloom. And I can’t walk past them without wanting to pull out my camera and capture their simple beauty.

Just this past weekend, I once again photographed some wild daisies. While downloading the photos to my computer, an idea for a blog post came to my mind.

He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not.

I recently viewed a video and listened as a man gave testimony of how messed up his life once had been. He reached rock bottom. Literally. Ready to take his own life to end the pain of a lifetime of mistakes.

Until he opened up a Bible. A book he never had read before. Actually, a book he disdained.

What he found in words written there was something he had never heard nor realized before. A simple truth. God loved him.

No matter what his past had been, God loved this man. In fact, God loved this man so very much that He sacrificed His own Son, Jesus Christ, to save this man from the darkness of his own making.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

I wonder how many people journey through their lives not knowing that God loves them or believing that He doesn’t.

He loves me not. He loves me not. He loves me not. As if all the daisy petals in the world say the same thing. 

How many lives might be saved if just one person or one experience would lead a soul who believes that to the truth that God loves every one of us?

Every single one. All of us. All the time. A love so intense that Jesus actually died on a cross just to save our souls. A love so unconditional that He continually draws us near to Him, no matter what we’ve done, to receive that gift of grace for free.

Free as a daisy. Simple and uncomplicated.

God opens His arms wide and says He loves me.

He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.

And He loves you.

He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at a daisy in the same way again.

“The love of God toward you is like the Amazon River flowing down to water a single daisy.”  ~ F.B. Meyer

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Blue on blue

I’m thinking blue today. No, I’m not feeling blue, that particular color is just on my mind.

According to several research studies, blue remains the most popular color in several countries of the world because folks claim it as their favorite hue.  I personally like blue as well, although yellow is actually my very favorite color.

The color blue, say those who study such things, promotes feelings of tranquility which is why a room painted blue is supposed to make you feel calm and peaceful.

But blue also is considered a color that denotes strength. In addition, qualities such as dependability, loyalty, confidence, and trust are associated with the color blue. Perhaps that’s why many companies use that color in their logos.

When I think of blue, so many pictures, phrases, and even songs pop into my head.

Phrases like blue plate special, a specially priced meal listed on a diner’s menu. Or a bolt from the blue, totally unexpected bad news.

Or how about blue around the gills? That’s when you’re not feeling so great, ill, or nauseated.

And this one that my own dad used to say when the weather turned hot in the summer, “It’s hotter than blue blazes.”

Pictures of wonderfully marvelous blue aspects flash through my mind. Things like blue ribbons – winning one means you are the very best, the champion. Blueberries that soon should be bursting forth on our bushes – yummy!

Blue jeans. Who doesn’t own those comfy, casual yet durable attire? Blue suede shoes. I’ve never seen any myself, but Elvis Presley sure liked to sing about them.

Beautiful blue eyes. Brilliant blue gems like sapphires and aquamarines. Lovely Blue Willow and Wedgewood, classic blue china.

And then there are the blue blossoms of hydrangeas, forget me nots, cornflowers, periwinkle, morning glories, and blue bells. Seeing them makes me smile and that reminds me of the blue bird of happiness.

Of course, the color blue doesn’t always signify happy feelings. Being blue means you’re down in the dumps, feeling sad or despondent. Often it’s because of lost love and that thought causes song lyrics to ramble through my mind.

“Blue, blue, my world is blue. Blue is my world now I’m without you.” (Love is Blue by Paul Mauriat)

Lyrics from tunes that saturated radio waves of the 1960’s float through my memory banks including: Blue Moon (“Blue moon, you saw me standing alone…“) by The Marcels;  Blue on Blue (“Blue on blue, heartache on heartache…”) by Bobby Vinton; Navy Blue (“Blue, I’m so blue, I’m as blue as blue can be…”  by Diane Renay; and Blue Christmas (“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you…”) by Elvis Presley.    

Songs from the 70’s as well: Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond; Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain by Willie Nelson; Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstad; Bluer than Blue by Michael Johnson;  and Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle.

Of course, not all songs with the color blue mentioned are sad. I recall another old tune from way back when entitled My Blue Heaven. And then there’s always Crystal Blue Persuasion, a song from the late 60’s, by Tommy James and the Shondells.

Blue is a color that conjures up thoughts of nature as well. Sky, of course. Who doesn’t love blue skies? They not only make the horizon bright; blue skies cheer us up just like the words of that old song, “Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see.”

Famous artist Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I never get tired of the blue sky.” Me either.

Likewise, we find that color in nature showing itself in clear, pure water reflecting sunshine. Claude Monet, another well-known artist said, “I will do water – beautiful, blue water.” And he was inspired to do so in many of his paintings.

When Papa and I traveled to Arizona in March, we were treated to several viewings of blue water with blue skies particularly when we took a day trip along the Colorado River from Lake Havasu to Parker Dam on the Arizona-California border.

The abundant sunshine that day certainly succeeded at causing the water to radiate the color blue. My photos from that day proved it.

Blue sky. Blue water. Blue on blue.

Blue might just be the color of joy.

 “If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleanora Duse

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: break

We all had to take a break whether we wanted to or not – at home.

Because of the pandemic and the resulting edicts to “shelter in place,” all of us, in one way or another, were forced to take a break.

Oh, I know, those who were fortunate enough to retain their jobs because they were deemed essential workers still worked hard and we’re so thankful for them. And scads of others, who were able, worked from home.

But a vast majority of us took a break – albeit a longer one than we thought it would be – from the daily routine and normal life.

Since both Papa and I are basically retired, we didn’t have to worry about jobs. We were busy though caring for our oldest granddaughter during that time.

But for the most part, we seized the opportunity to step away from the normal busyness of life and enjoy our time at home. And we didn’t squander that time at all.

“The opportunity to step away from everything and take a break is something that shouldn’t be squandered.” ~Harper Reed

So what did we do? In between playing with our granddaughter, helping her with her preschool homework, and providing new things to discover and learn, we enjoyed some simple aspects of life. And I took quite a few photographs to prove it.

I’m sharing some of those photos from our “break” with you today. Despite the trying time that it’s been, we managed to find joy. And doesn’t that make every day worthwhile?

So how have you managed staying home during this time?

Enjoyed the blooming flowers
Spruced up the yard
But we still had time to just relax outside

“Find what brings you joy and go there.” ~Jan Phillips

©2020 mamasemptynest,wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: think

Words to live by:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” ~ Philippians 4:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

Or from another version:

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” ~ Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: cars, cars, cars

blogIMG_1274I grew up enjoying cars and car rides. My father traveled daily by car around his multi-county territory for his job as a newspaper circulation supervisor. No company cars provided, he used our family vehicle which tallied a lot of miles on our car in a year. So Dad almost always traded our car in for a sparkling new one every two years.

It was always exhilarating when Dad arrived home from work one day driving a brand new car up our driveway. Immediately, we would hop in for a ride in the new one and I so vividly remember that “new car smell.”

Dad liked cars and he even kept a list of all the cars he ever owned which we found shortly after he passed away at the age of 90. That list was fairly long!

Papa and I certainly don’t adhere to the two-year trade-in routine that my father did during his working career. Instead, we hang on to our vehicles as long as possible – even 10-12 years. But no other purchases quite beat the excitement of obtaining a new car or a new to you car for me. 

The car I enjoyed owning the most was a new 1981 Audi 5000 that hubby and I purchased when he was still a military officer. Boy, that car was fun to drive! Now, I’m just happy with our all-wheel drive Subaru Foresters that easily transport us up a wind-blown, drifted shut, snowy driveway every winter.

Yesterday I posted about a classic car show, our brother-in-law, Papa, and I attended in Arizona when we were visiting there.

It was a fun blast from the past and just in case you enjoy a walk down memory lane like I do, I’m posting some more photos I took there.

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And last but not least, one of my personal favorites – traveling with God’s Holy Word in the front seat.

blogIMG_1230“People who, like me, grew up in the 1950s and 1960s after World War II, grew up with cars.” ~ Martin Winterkorn (former Volkswagen AG Chairman)

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Back in time

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Car from the year I was born

I’m a child of the 1950’s, born in that decade. And even though I was just a toddler and young child, there are so many aspects of that time I recall.

My sisters were older than me and became teenagers in that decade. so popular music resounded throughout our house, especially after my oldest sister received a record player one Christmas. Name a song made popular in the 1950’s and I probably can sing some of the lyrics. 

Another memory I vividly recall from the 50’s was when my father drove home a brand new 1958 two-tone purple/lavender automobile. 

After that we enjoyed singing “It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater,” a song released that same year by Sheb Wooley simply entitled, The Purple People Eater. Click here to listen to that old song.

As a little girl, I loved both that song and that purple car and they are entrenched in my memory like so many  other items of that era. Fairly often Papa and I stumble upon an antique shop with various offerings from the 1950’s and early 60’s and I will remark, “Oh, I remember this” and “Wow, we had one of these.”

During our last Arizona trip before the covid-19 panic went berserk, Papa and I attended a classic car show with our brother-in-law, who graduated from high school in 1958. Held at a racetrack on the outskirts of their city, plenty of folks, mostly of an older generation, attended the event.

As we walked the lap around the race track, taking our time so as not to tire out our brother-in-law, we thoroughly enjoyed viewing the various assortment of vehicles – both old and new.  But the ones that drew my attention most were from the 1950’s and 60’s – those I remember best.

blogfuzzydiceSome of the iconic accoutrements that car owners added to their restored models truly made us smile and chuckle too.  Plenty of fuzzy dice hung from rear view mirrors but some took a step even further back in time to help viewers recall the days of drive-in restaurants and when you gathered the family on summer evenings, piled into the station wagon, and headed to the drive-in theater.

blogIMG_1227blogIMG_1257A day full of nostalgia outside in beautiful Arizona sunshine proved to be an experience I won’t soon forget and will store back in those memory banks of my mind – back with the remembrances of the 1950’s and early 60’s.

“Go back. Go back in time. Everyone’s life is a chain of memories. In each chain there are shining links, happenings where this element of wonder…was very strong. Why don’t you reach out and relive some of those memories? If you work at it, remembering the wonder can revive your ability to live life as it should be lived.”  ~ Arthur Gordon Webster

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: More Kicks

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If you ever plan to motor west,

Travel my way, take the highway that is best.

Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six. 

(Lyrics to Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by Bobby Troup)

The second time proved to be just as relaxing and entertaining as the first.

When Papa and I journeyed to Arizona for the first time two years ago, we flew into Las Vegas, Nevada where our southwestern family members picked us up and drove us south to their home.

The rest of our time spent sightseeing we traveled by car (road trips are the best in my book!) and one day we enjoyed a scenic drive on old Route 66 to Oatman.

Just a couple of months ago on our second trip to Arizona, we flew into Phoenix, secured a rental car, and explored parts of the state on road trips. Yesterday, I posted about our leisurely and pleasant drive on old Route 66 again, only this time from Williams to Kingman.

Today I’m sharing some of my photos of the stops we made and sights we viewed along the way when we were getting our kicks on Route 66.

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“The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Give me a road trip any day

blogIMG_1126Now that we’re opening up a bit and not sheltering in place by staying at home, I’m looking forward to more road trips in the near future. I used to love to fly, but in the last few years, I enjoy it less and less.

Obviously, you can get from point A to point B much more quickly by boarding a jet but for me, there’s just something way more enjoyable about packing up the car and setting out for destinations by highway and byway. You can view the most interesting sights and stop whenever and wherever you choose and I enjoy that so much more.

Maybe it’s because when I was young, my father used to take my mother and me on Sunday afternoon drives and I have such fond memories of that. Or maybe it’s just that I like the peaceful, quiet aspect of a car trip consisting of just hubby and me and an open road when we can pick and choose where to go, how far to go, and where we want to stop and check out the scenery.

Back in early March before the stay at home mandates were issued, which seems like an eternity ago, Papa and I flew to Arizona to visit family. Upon arrival at the Phoenix airport, we picked up a rental car and hit the road northward for our Grand Canyon visit.

The day we left the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, rain poured from the overcast, foggy sky. We headed south to Williams, AZ where we could catch an intersecting highway traveling west. But instead of entering the interstate in Williams, we opted to drive westward on old Route 66.

blogIMG_1117With each mile on this less traveled two-lane byway, we encountered blue skies, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Just what we needed! As an added bonus, Burma Shave signs along the road kept us amused.

blogBurmaShaveWhat a fantastic way to spend the day it proved to be! As we traveled along, enjoying beautifully different scenery and stopping in quirky and interesting little towns, I couldn’t help but remember an old song, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, written in 1946 by musician Bobby Troup. (Click on his name to watch/hear him perform the song.)

We surely did “get our kicks” traveling this mostly empty stretch of pavement. And eventually, my mind rolled back to an early 60’s television show, entitled Route 66, which I recall watching with my dad.

That show may have appealed to Dad, who enjoyed driving and traveling by car, because two characters, played by Martin Milner and George Maharis, wandered across the United States driving a Chevrolet Corvette along Route 66. Imagine my surprise as Papa and I were traveling on this remaining section of the old, historic highway when we saw a number of Corvettes coming towards us. Serendipity!

blogIMG_1175The original Route 66 highway extended from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through America’s heartland (an area you pass OVER when you’re flying). We stayed on Route 66, which first opened in 1926 and was decommissioned by the 1980’s when newer, larger highways took its place, all the way into Kingman, AZ.

The trip proved refreshing and fun and we delighted in every mile of the way.

blogIMG_1136“Look for chances to take the less-traveled roads. There are no wrong turns.” — Susan Magsamen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: sunset peace

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Sunset over Grand Canyon

They speak to me without words. I find them awe-inspiring, magnificent, and more beautiful than any painted canvas could possibly be.

I’m talking about sunsets. When I catch a glimpse of a gorgeous, multi-colored spectacle called a sunset, I always pause, cast aside whatever I was doing, and just stand still and watch as day departs in the west. Often, the splendor I view in a sunset renders me speechless.

I’ve captured a number of stunning sunsets with my DSLR camera right off our backyard deck. I’ve also caught some on film back in the day as the sun slowly descended into the Pacific Ocean horizon.

Sunsets have always mesmerized me. They show me that yet another glorious day of life has passed and it’s now time for rest with the hope that tomorrow there will be a sunrise. Another opportunity to live life with purpose and meaning.

As I gaze into sunsets, sometimes so brilliant they hurt my eyes, I feel close to their Maker. My God. Creator of the Universe yet Savior of my soul. For me, a sunset is one aspect of nature that represents God’s glory.

Right now the world seems so uncertain, so dark and troubling. My mama’s heart is concerned and to be perfectly honest, anxious because our nurse daughter has contracted covid-19.  Yet each day, God provides, He helps, He comforts. He gives me peace and I know He’s doing the very same for her.

Last month as Papa and I visited the Grand Canyon, we endured weather conditions that weren’t perfect for our sightseeing, yet at day’s end, God provided a most spectacular finish. A blazing sunset over the canyon.

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God’s glory giving me peace

It gave my soul peace that day and it continues to do so every time I see that photo.

I especially welcome the peace that only God can grant to me now, as I wait for our nurse daughter to recover from the virus that has caused so much turmoil in this earthly world, and the peace He provides as I wait for that day when I can freely pull her into my arms and hug my grown-up child.

“We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem. Why do we go? Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self.” ~ John Piper

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com