Words for Wednesday: Savor the moment

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“The present moment alone is ours. Today is a day which we never had before, which we shall never have again. It rose from the great ocean of eternity, and again sinks into its unfathomable depths.”

~ T. DeWitt Talmadge

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Words for Wednesday: winter won’t last

blogimg_6781The long month of January is finally coming to a close. And as the snow still flies outside my window and temperatures plummet to single digits and below, winter still clutches us in its grasp.

We still have the winter month of February to come and often we get record amounts of snow during those 28 or 29 (if it’s Leap Year) days. And we’ve even been graced with the white stuff throughout March in the past, so…who knows when winter will depart? Not even the groundhog knows for sure.

No doubt spring probably won’t arrive for quite some time yet.

But in the words of our Little One (our oldest grandchild who will soon turn four), “When is it going to be Spring? I miss the grass!”

She likes snow and enjoys playing in it, even begging Papa to let her help shovel the sidewalk, but like the rest of us, she still yearns for sunshine and warmth and color.

“No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.” ~ unknown

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: January bare branches

blogimg_6997January always seems like such a long month especially since we are usually caught in the throes of blustery winter weather where I live.

Snow, ice, blasts of frigid temperatures, bleak and often dismal skies. That’s usually the norm here every January. And this first month of 2019 proves no different from years past.

I happened upon this poem one day while gleaning for thoughts on our coldest season of the year and it seemed to perfectly accompany a photo I took in the dead of a January winter a couple of years ago.  The poem’s ending also fits well with the ideas of light rolling around in my mind for over a week now.

January Morn

Bare branches of each tree
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday’s dusting of snow.
Yet in the heart of each tree
waiting for each who wait to see
new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,
like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,
buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow.

Like heart and soul in every man
who let their light grow ever dim
a spark still burns low within
longing to burst forth, to shine again.
Like bare branches on a January morn
don’t feel cold, don’t feel forlorn.
Our Heavenly Father like warm spring sun
like gentle warm wind when called upon
will make each light burn bright again. 

By Nelda Hartman

January won’t last forever and neither will winter weather. Soon spring will burst forth in all its glory and winter will be frozen into the past until next year.

What’s January like in the area where you live?

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A light within

blogimg_2441As long as I can remember, I’ve gazed at them.

And their beauty hasn’t faded after all of these years. They grace the walls of my church.

I grew up in a rural area outside of a small town and from birth until my marriage,  I attended and belonged to one church.  A simple, white clapboard country church. The same church where my parents were members as their parents before them.

Actually, my family history on my paternal grandmother’s side dates back to the very beginning of that church almost 200 years ago. Family ancestors were two of the eight founding members in 1820.

Once while researching the history of my church, I uncovered a copy of a 1941 church directory with all kinds of information included. What fascinating reading it made, seeing in print the positions members of my family – now long gone – held in that church, reading about all the activities going on, and seeing a membership roll that neared 500 souls.  

The history of my church is one of the things I love about it.  I also love my fellow believers there.  I love my pastor who encourages and, at the same time, challenges us each Sunday morning with messages straight from God’s Holy Word.  

I love that when I step inside that church building, I feel like I belong there.  

And there is one more thing I love about my church. Adorning each wall of the sanctuary are the most resplendent stained glass windows – a fancy thing for such a simple country church not made of stone or brick.

As long as I can remember, those windows have graced the church sanctuary. I’ve always loved the brilliantly colored glass depicting symbols of Christianity and renditions of the way the church building appeared in days gone by.

Sitting in a pew in my church on a Sunday morning, singing songs of praise to my God, hearing His Word as it speaks to my heart, I notice the sun shining through those windows and it brings even more joy to my soul.

It’s like God’s love is pouring down from heaven through those sunbeams lighting up the sparkling panes of colored glass.

From the outside of my church, those stained glass windows don’t appear to be that spectacular. But inside is a different story. Inside, when light radiates through them, those windows become incandescent and brilliant.   

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Although it is God’s House, the actual building that houses my church with these magnificent windows is just that – it’s just a building.

What makes a church a true place to worship the Lord isn’t the building, it’s what is practiced, preached, and believed inside and outside of that building.

The church is not a private club. The church is truly believers, people like you and me, the hands and feet of Jesus.  Believers who go outside the church to share the gospel message, to give help and aid to those who are needy, to reach out to those who are hurting, to show others in words and deeds what it means to be saved by the loving grace of Jesus Christ.

All of this reminds me that on the outside, things may look glum, even dreary, much like how the outer stained glass windows appear on my church building. But when the light of belief in a Savior shines through, perspective changes amazingly.

I hope when folks view my outer countenance, they may see a radiant stained glass window revealed by the light within me which only comes from my Savior.

And I must take that light and shine it outside the walls of my church building.

“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

It’s about time

blogIMG_6654When the clock’s hands both landed on the 12, I almost missed it.

No raucous party took place here at Mama’s Empty Nest on New Year’s Eve. Instead we enjoyed a simple, quiet evening of relaxation after weeks of busyness.

The Christmas season didn’t add to the hustle and bustle at our house because we devoted hours upon hours of our free time to help our daughter and grandchild prepare to move into their new home.

Renovate, remodel, redecorate.  Wallpaper stripping, painting, repairing, and updating the older house she purchased occupied much of our time. Finally, her move-in date arrives this week if all goes according to plan.

Because we have worked on her house for about six weeks now, we all needed some respite time so on that last day of December, we decided to rest. But we did manage to stay awake until 12 o’clock when 2019 arrived.

However, we almost missed the New Year’s entrance at midnight. Engrossed in reading a book, I didn’t notice that the magic hour neared. Absorbed in watching several episodes of Cadfael, Papa also wasn’t watching the clock. Little One was conked out sound asleep, and Middle Daughter rested after a busy hospital shift.

Midnight was approaching in just a matter of a minute or so when our daughter asked, “Aren’t we going to watch the ball drop?”

Papa hurriedly switched over to a station broadcasting from Times Square and we managed to see the countdown.

Time had gotten away from us and even though we were awake, we almost missed the big event. But time marches on with or without us.

“Time is what we want most, but… what we use worst.” ~William Penn

Since my sixth grade graduation, I’ve been bound by time. That’s when I received my first wrist watch – one that had to be wound every night to continue running – as a gift from my parents. And for all of those years that followed since I was 12, I’ve strapped a watch onto my left wrist every single morning.

Over the years, when one watch stopped working, I immediately attained another one, trading wind-up ones for battery operated ones.  And when the batteries ran out, I scurried to acquire a new one because I felt lost without my watch.

Those timepieces on my arm kept me going, kept me on schedule. I glanced at my watch several times a day and at night through high school, college, my working career, and into my days as a stay at home mom.

In a way, my wristwatch dictated my life, showing me when it was time to eat, time to go to bed, time to go to work and time to return back home, time to arrive at an appointment, time to get the kids ready for school, time to attend this meeting or that one, time to drive kids to sports practices and time to pick them up, time for church, time to get busy with whatever task was at hand.

A couple of months ago, the battery died in my trusty wristwatch – the gift from Papa that I’ve worn for many years now – and I haven’t replaced the battery yet. And I’m not certain if I will.

After 50-some years of wearing a wristwatch, my arm felt a bit naked at first. But now I’m becoming accustomed to not having a watch, not having to constantly glance at it to see what time it is.  

Being watch-less proved to be one reason why I didn’t notice midnight approached on New Year’s Eve. But in this season of my life, knowing exactly what time it is isn’t as important to me. Oh, I still have schedules to follow because I watch my grandchild while her mama works, but my time isn’t as constrained as it once was.

After so many years of busyness, I am content to be still.  I am content to use my time in a less ordered fashion. And as a new year unfolds before me, I want to spend more time delving into reading and contemplating God’s Word.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10

To do so, I must be still. I must make good use of whatever time God has granted to me. With a watch or without it.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” ~ Harvey McKay

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Words for Wednesday: Keeping Christmas

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It’s the day after Christmas, but I’m not ready to let go yet. So these pictures show you just a few sights I captured with my camera this season.

It’s the day after Christmas, but I’m not ready to let go yet. And who says we must? We should keep thoughts of Christmas in our hearts all year long.

Thoughts of kindness.

Thoughts of sharing.

Thoughts of goodwill towards men.

Thoughts of love.

Thoughts of hope.

Thoughts of peace.

And thoughts of the King of kings – Jesus. Because even though we just celebrated His birthday, He gave us the ultimate gift when He died on the cross for us. His gift of salvation lasts forever and ever and ever. Hallelujah! 

“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” ~  W.T. Ellis

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A Christmas Blessing

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To  all my faithful readers and friends,

Merry Christmas

from Mama’s Empty Nest!

“May you be blessed

With the spirit of the season, which is peace,

The gladness of the season, which is hope,

And the heart of the season, which is love.” ~ Old Irish Blessing

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: global

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A child. A tiny babe. Born in an animal shelter of the lowliest way and laid in a feeding trough – a manger.

Yet a King. A King to save the world. If only the world would receive Him.

The Messiah. The long-awaited One.  God in the flesh. A global gift.

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

(What Child Is This – words by  William Chatterton Dix, 1865)

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”~ Luke 2: 1-7

May all the world rejoice! Let earth receive her King.

“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that he might offer up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.” ~ Rev. Billy Graham

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com