Thankful Thursday: the color of beauty

blogIMG_7648An attitude of gratitude. It’s one of the many aspects of life we discuss when a group of ladies gather weekly at my home for Bible study. We’re learning how to be content with our lives, our roles, and our purposes.

We’re learning that happiness may be getting what you want but true contentment is wanting what you get.  Those gifts that God bestows upon us. And we’re taking the time to be grateful for life and all its nuances.

So today on this Thursday, I find a simple thing for which to give thanks.

blogIMG_7657The world outside my windows has exploded into bright bursts of color. Green grass.  Yellow dandelions. Dark pink bleeding heart flowers. Bright green and white striped hosta plants. Light purple and red blooms on the azaleas.  Blue sky.

Springtime. A glorious outburst of color and new life. Worthy of celebration.

And all of that beauty my eye beholds is more than worthy of thanksgiving.

“Beauty is the gift of God.” ~ Aristotle

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Words for Wednesday: May “flowers”

blogIMG_7831 (2)It’s true, that old saying – April showers bring May flowers. Just take a look at my front yard lawn.

It boasts an abundance of ‘flowers.’ Oh, I know. They’re really dandelions.

Weeds by definition. But to me, they’ve always been a cheery symbol of spring – those lemony yellow dots copiously spread out among the luscious expanse of green.

I’m enjoying my profusion of May “flowers.” They make me as happy as a sunshine-filled, balmy blue-skied day.

They speak life. And what could be better than that?

“Beautiful as a dandelion-blossom golden in the green grass, this life can be.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Words for Wednesday: forcynthia

blogIMG_7647You read that title correctly. No, I did not make a typographical error there. I didn’t misspell the word forsythia, I truly meant to post forcynthia.

What in the world? you may ask.  As she nears that ripe age of 65 is she starting to lose her faculties? Or is it simply that the appearance of sunshine and spring-like weather addled her brain? Is she giddy with spring-time bliss?

To answer those questions: No, I don’t think I’m losing my almost-65-year-old mind. No, my brain isn’t addled…at least not yet. And maybe, yes, I could be giddy with spring-time bliss.

But the most accurate answer is there is a story behind the title of today’s post and I am going to share it with you.

In our yard there is one forsythia bush. It has been planted in the same spot for several years now – almost 10 this summer – and this is the year it has bloomed its best. The bush exists for one specific reason; it was a gift to me because of a childhood story I once shared with a friend.

I’ve always loved seeing forsythia bushes blooming their golden yellow, delicate, skinny petaled flowers clustered on tall spires in spring. Forsythia are so cheerful to view, even if some folks consider them invasive as they can grow quite large and can take over an area of landscaping.

But to me, they are special and I’m going to tell you why.

Unless you know me personally, you do not know that my given name is actually Cynthia. It’s right there, written on my birth certificate although the only person to call me by that name was my mother – when she was angry with me.

I’m more known for the nickname associated with Cynthia – Cindy.  But my birth name is Cynthia, a name derived from Greek, another name for Artemis, the mythological goddess of the moon. But even from my earliest memory, I knew my ‘real’ name was Cynthia and that I certainly was not a goddess.

As a youngster, every time I heard my parents discussing those bushes that appeared in spring with their bright sunshine-color blooms as forsythia, I honestly thought they were saying “for Cynthia.” So at some point in my childhood, I claimed those plants as my own. And when they bloomed, they were for me – for Cynthia.

I related this silly, little story once to a friend and it made her chuckle. But she remembered my tale. Not quite 10 years ago, my father passed away. The loss was difficult for me as he was the last remaining parent either my husband or I had. Losing Dad came right on the cusp of empty nest hood too, so my emotions were kind of a mess.

Imagine the joy it brought me when the friend gave me a gift to express her condolences at my father’s passing. The gift was a small forsythia bush which she spent a good deal of time searching for.

blogIMG_7640A gift to bless my heart. This Cynthia. This Cynthia who loves forsythia. This Cynthia who still thinks of this particular spring bloom as exclusively mine – my forcynthia.

And my forcynthia still blesses me each time I look at it, but especially in spring time. And that joy of remembering my parents, remembering that little girl who loved her parents so dearly and also her forcynthia stays with me.

Sometimes joy comes in yellow.

“Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

He is risen indeed

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“We are adopted into God’s family through the resurrection of Christ from the dead in which he paid all our obligations to sin, the law, and the devil, in whose family we once lived. Our old status lies in his tomb. A new status is ours through his resurrection.” ~  Sinclair B. Ferguson

May God bless you with the truth of Jesus Christ’s resurrection this day and the promise that He will come again.

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Words for Wednesday: Be Found

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If you are a seasoned Christian, you know this story, but you may need to be reminded of it. If you don’t call yourself a believer in Christ, this story is for you.

Jesus, the Messiah, the very Son of God, lived and walked on this earth in human form. As He traveled teaching those who would listen about His Father in heaven, he often told parables (simple stories He used to illustrate a spiritual lesson).  Those stories can be found in the Holy Bible in what is called the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

One of those parables is about the lost sheep as found in Luke 15:3-7 – Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

What does it mean? The message is simple. God seeks us out when we are lost in sin. His heart wants us to be found, to be rescued, to be renewed. And the only way to do that is through accepting the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, the very One sent to earth to die for all of our sins on that ol’ rugged cross.

We need a loving, personal Savior. We need to understand how very much God deeply loves us. How valuable we are to Him. And that He will go to the ends of the earth – far and wide – just to bring us back home to Him like the shepherd who searches for the one lost sheep out of 99.

And when the lost is found and returned to the fold, there is rejoicing.

That’s why Jesus is often called the Good Shepherd. He came to seek the lost. Maybe that is you. No matter what kind of life you have led, He longs to gather you into His arms and rejoice over you. You just have to let Him find you.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” ~ Augustine

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: dancing with daffodils

blogIMG_7336Some spring-like weather boosts my spirit and makes my heart and mind do a little happy dance.

It appears Spring has finally descended on my neck of the woods, the one where Ol’ Man Winter hung on by his icy claws until the bitter end.

Sunshine. Warmer temperatures. Blue skies. And with them, green grass begins to emerge adding a touch of color to the far-too-long-barren landscape around my home.  

Then….pop, pop, pop. The daffodils and heavenly-scented hyacinths awaken from their slumber providing spots of yellow, purple, and pink. 

It’s Spring! And I feel like dancing with the daffodils as they sway in the breeze. As I dance, I spy it – the first dandelion of the season. Its sunny yellow face doesn’t disappoint me even though some consider dandy a weed. No, instead it adds to the pleasure I feel now as I bid adieu to winter and welcome spring.

Those perky daffodils remind me of the well-known poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,  written by William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850):

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: success

blogIMG_6991Success! After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the red-headed woodpecker enjoying his snack at our front yard suet cake holder, I finally caught him.

It’s not the best photo as I snapped it in a hurry before he few away in a flurry, but it’s proof that he exists and frequents our place often.

I’m not an expert on identifying birds but I believe he is a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Please correct me if I’m wrong, all you birdwatchers out there.

Feeling a little success is encouraging to me today because I’m still in the throes of rummaging and sorting through the humongous piles of stuff in our unfinished basement. Will my vision of a clean and orderly lower level ever come to fruition?

If you need me, I’ll be in the basement finishing the job I started.

 “Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts.” ~ Coleman Cox

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: tracks

blogIMG_6776We had a visitor at some point during a snowy night recently because this is what I found on our front porch and sidewalk the next morning.

Tracks. We all leave them. And if you think your life is meaningless, it’s not. What you do or don’t do always affects someone else. Each life matters.

But it’s up to us to make a choice. As we pass through this time called life, will we leave tracks that impact another for good or negative ones? Will our tracks lead someone astray or give them guidance?

Choose your tracks wisely, so someone who comes upon them is encouraged or in some way helped by the path you led.

Make your tracks count.

“No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way.” ~ Robert Baden-Powell

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