Out of the ordinary

blogIMG_2491(2)It’s Monday. And I don’t usually post here at Mama’s Empty Nest on Mondays.

But I ran across a quote last week that fits the bill today.

“Do something out of the ordinary. It not only creates a memory, it sets a standard.” ~ unknown source

So I’m doing something a little out of the ordinary by posting on a Monday. But this isn’t just any old Monday.

Today is the very first Monday in this brand new year of 2018.

2018!! My mind marvels that we are 18 years into this millennia. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were crossing our fingers that the Y2K bug wasn’t going to create havoc as predicted? And it turned out to be much ado about nothing. (Forgive me, William Shakespeare.)

Today is New Year’s Day. We said goodbye to the old year 2017 last night and we welcome in the new year with great expectations. (Forgive me, Charles Dickens.)

Today is a milestone. A day when many folks begin New Year’s resolutions. Or a diet. Or decide to make some kind of change in their lives.

Empty spaces on my new 2018 calendar remind me that I have the opportunity to live out that quote above. Do something out of the ordinary. Create memories. Set standards.

Empty spaces on this blog remind me that I have an entire year of writing to plan. I find myself contemplating how to proceed, what direction to take for this blog in this new year.  I do want to create lovely memories for folks to read about. And at the same time, I want to set standards for my blog as well.

So do I just continue doing what I’ve been doing? Writing as inspiration comes to me? Participating in weekly photo challenges so I can continue sharing what I enjoy – amateur photography? Lining up photos for Wordless Wednesday?

Should I select a theme for the year or concentrate on a special word that I’ve chosen as ‘my word’ for the year?

Perhaps I should reopen my “book of opportunity” that I wrote about back in 2011? Click to read Chapter One back then.

Or should I choose something completely out of the ordinary?

Maybe you, dear readers, can help me decide. I’d love to hear your feedback on what you’d like to see on this blog and even what you don’t want to see, so please leave a comment giving me your thoughts. 

In the meantime, I wish each and every one of you a happy and blessed New Year. And I leave you today, this first Monday of 2018, with an old Irish blessing (even though I’m not Irish, I love those blessings).

May the blessing of light be upon you,
Light on the outside, 
Light on the inside.

With God’s sunlight shining on you, 
May your heart glow with warmth, 
Like a turf fire 
that welcomes friends and strangers alike.

May the light of the Lord shine from your eyes,
Like a candle in the window, 
Welcoming the weary traveler.

Happy New Year from Mama’s Empty Nest! 

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

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It’s the best day of the year

blogIMG_0354Glistening snow wraps the rolling landscape around my home in winter white.  Traffic is practically non-existent on the country road that meanders in front of our house.   All is quiet as we sit snugly and warm inside our wintry snow globe world.

Tranquility reigns inside our house as well, but each room appears stark and barren since the Christmas decorations and fa-la-la-ery are packed away for another year-long wait. 

The family is spread hither and yon once again, the bedrooms empty of suitcases and laughter.  The showers are silent and even the dishwasher has been given a little reprieve. 

Mama in her kerchief and Dad in his cap settle in for the winter, along with a yawn or two from Callie, the calico cat, who occasionally rises from her naps to wander through the house in search of a warm lap to curl upon.

Another New Year has arrived.

Last year, New Year’s Day dawned with a sense of excitement and anticipation with the knowledge that there would be three weddings to plan.  But last year is now history and those joy-filled moments we all experienced are now sweet memories.

blogIMG_0313Sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of tea, I glance outside at the winter landscape and think how the pure white blanket of untouched fallen snow resembles blank pages of this new year stretched ahead of me.

What will I write about this year? What events and thoughts shall I chronicle? 

These words from my ever-growing notebook of quotes seem fitting to describe my contemplations on this New Year’s Day: 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ~ T.S. Eliot.

It’s true – last year’s language overflowed with wedding joy.  And while the weddings have ended, my children’s new lives as married couples have just begun. 

And I think to myself that  I must also welcome new beginnings and this year’s words need a different voice.

I’m not a maker of resolutions.  I never keep them, and frankly, get bored trying to keep them.  Instead, I approach life as it comes and if I resort to any resolve at all, it is to live the day better than I did the day before.

I also don’t make bucket lists.  There are just too many things in the world to see, to do, to experience and it overwhelms me to even think about making such a list.  But I do make lists, just lists of things to do each day, things to accomplish, things to finish.  And I relish crossing those things off my list with gusto.

Two years ago on New Year’s Day, I choose to write with a distinct purpose in mind for 2011.  I envisioned that year as an open book of opportunity and decided to address each blog post in that vein with each day a page in each of the 12 chapters (months).  If you missed that, you may read about it by clicking here.

I considered reopening my book called Opportunity again to serve as a steering wheel while I navigate through the coming year.  But I’ve come to realize I enjoy changes, variety, spice in life, so a different impetus must propel my blog forward into the next 12 months.

So in what direction should I aim my writing this year?  With a blank page in my to-do lists and an even blanker page in the new book entitled 2013, I turned to my guidebook for life, my Bible, God’s Word.

And the pages so easily fall to my favorite scripture of all.  My guiding words.  My life verse, if you will.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Be joyful.  Not just on wedding days, but every day.

Pray continually.  Not just at night before you go to sleep, but throughout the day as the Spirit prompts. 

Give thanks in all circumstances.  Not just for things, events, or occurrences that are favorable – those you like –  but for all things, even if they prove difficult. 

For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   My joy does not depend on my circumstances, it depends on my relationship with my Savior.

And what has He done for me?  Too much to even attempt to relate, but He has given me life, both this one and one to come.  And He has given me a New Year to live better than I have before.

A new blank page upon which to write the blessings of each day. 

“That’s it!” I thought.  Another quote jumped off my quotes notebook page and shouted, “Look at me!  This is what you must do:”

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so I begin writing on my heart that this fresh, sparkling, new first day of January, 2013 is the best day in the year.  Why?   Because…

“Another fresh new year is here . . .

Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt, and fear,

To love and laugh and give!

 

This bright new year is given me

To live each day with zest . . .

To daily grow and try to be

My highest and my best!

 

I have the opportunity

Once more to right some wrongs,

To pray for peace, to plant a tree,

And sing more joyful songs!”

~ William Arthur Ward

Happy New Year from Mama’s Empty Nest!  May God grant you the opportunity to sing more joyful songs this year and see, as I hope to see, reasons why each day is the best day in the year.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com