Posted in photography, sunset

Be still…and watch the sun set

When we purchased this 2.25 acres of country land 20 years ago upon which to build our home, little did we realize that we would have a front-row seat to some of the most exquisitely beautiful sunsets. What a surprise that was!

Sunrises, on the other hand, are not so breathtaking here since hills and wooded areas interfere with viewing the sun ascending into the horizon early every morning.  By the time we catch a glimpse of the sun rising in the east, that golden orb has already moved higher into the sky and the magical swirl of color and light has vanished.

But sunsets…oh sunsets…they are glorious at our home. While I was practicing being still during my blogging hiatus, I witnessed several photo worthy settings of the sun in the western sky – in between rainy, overcast days.

In order to view them, all I have to do is peek out any of our kitchen windows or step outside onto our back yard deck and…voilà! God presents a spectacular sky painted with brilliant colors.

Sunsets always grab my attention. They entice me to watch as the sun slowly sinks into the horizon and nighttime descends its dark cloak over me. 

Even though technically a sunset is a passage of time – another day lived that will never be seen again – it still inspires me and fills me with hope for another day, another chance of life when the sun reappears the next morning.

Sunsets provide reason to pause and reflect on those last 24 hours of life and give thanks to the One who granted me those hours of life.

They also cause me to ponder about the next life. As magnificent as the colors of the sunsets I’ve witnessed are, it makes me wonder how glorious the colors in heaven might be.

“Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven.” ~ John Lubbock

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Posted in Blogging, photography, writing

Be still…and enjoy the tulips

blogIMG_7690I’m back from my blogging hiatus, at least I hope. 

If you’re a follower or frequent reader of Mama’s Empty Nest, you’ll know that I’ve been absent for well over a month from the blogging world. I decided to take a break from writing because, to be frank, I just wasn’t feeling motivated or inspired to write any more. It was time for me to just be still.

That break was only supposed to last for a short time – I envisioned it for maybe a week or two. Well, that turned into the longest period of time that Mama remained mum (in words that is) in over nine years of blogging.

For this writer, the art of putting words into sentences and then into paragraphs takes a large chunk of time, especially since I’ll admit I’m a perfectionist when it comes to this craft.

I tend to read over and over what I’ve written several times proofreading for typos, mistakes, misspellings, and bad grammar and changing sentences to make them more readable and more concise.

It’s the natural editor in me and explains why I was more than capable at two of my former jobs (newspaper reporter/editor and technical editor). Doing all of the writing, reading, proofing, and editing to produce blog posts does require a considerable amount of time every week for me.

So the month-long, self-imposed writing break from blogging provided me with plenty of free time. In a day when most people cram every waking moment into busyness and may crave free time but don’t actually take time to “stop and smell the roses,” I totally enjoyed the fact that my calendar wasn’t full of activities and to-do lists.

And by not writing in this blog, I found ample opportunities to just sit and think and not be bound by time nor duty.

So what in the world DID I do with spare time on my hands? I’ve decided to show you in a series of posts I’m calling “Be Still…” via photographs and in writing and, as always, by utilizing quotes from those collections of words I acquire and keep handy in my old trusty notebook.

Today’s post is a photo of the beautiful tulips gifted to be by my oldest daughter and son-in-love last month. For several days as I just practiced being still, they graced my kitchen island counter reminding me so vividly to stop and smell the flowers each day and take time to admire the beauty of spring emerging in my world.

“Flowers heal me. Tulips make me happy.” ~ Rebecca Wells

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Just keepin’ it real

blogIMG_4960Life.  Sometimes it gets in the way of our plans.

If you’re a steady reader of Mama’s Empty Nest, you may have noticed I’ve been on a writing hiatus for the last couple of weeks.  The evidence is a lack of written posts with only two Wordless Wednesdays showcasing a couple of my photographs instead.

The hiatus wasn’t intentional.  I didn’t just decide to take a break from blogging.  No, instead life happened.  Real life sometimes gets in the way of blogging life.  And you might just say, today I’m keeping it real.

As soon as this new year of blank pages arrived, my calendar started filling up with events and appointments and lists of things needing accomplishment the way life demands and…well, you get the picture.

Both weeks found me trotting off to school as I was scheduled to substitute teach two and a half days one week and two days the following week.  One week I taught middle schoolers everything from language arts to science and the next I subbed in learning support and worked non-stop with students from kindergarten through fifth grade in reading and math. 

But wait!  Just like the infomercials on TV, that’s not all!  Bible study resumed, so a lot of reading ensued and thought-provoking questions needed answering.  Several meetings also required my attendance and church activities increased because in a weak moment, I said yes.  Not just to one new obligation but two! 

I agreed to become a committee member for a church commission responsible for education of our children, teens, and adults and then because one of the Sunday School classes desperately needed a teacher, guess who is now also teaching young teens in 7th and 8th grade?  I mean who could turn down that opportunity when one of the young girl students specifically requested me?

So that meant acquiring curriculum, and checking it out thoroughly, preparing lessons, and because there’s that teacher side of me that insists a classroom should be just as stimulating as the lesson, I rearranged the dull-looking church room, added some visuals, and made plans to enhance the space more while spending way too much time on Pinterest looking for additional ideas.

In between all of that, home chores to accomplish, phone calls to return, friends to check on due to illnesses or just because they were going through a tough time, prayer chain requests to lift up to the Lord, and to be honest, a little worrying done over the safety of my world travelers (who, by the way, finally returned home safely from their three-week grand African adventure), and concern for the health of my pregnant daughter also grabbed my attention.

When it came to carving out time to sit down and write for my blog, I thought that either:  a.  I didn’t have time  or b.  I was just too weary/distracted/unmotivated to think coherently let alone write a decent sentence.   If I did snag a little block of time and sit down at the computer, I found myself just vegging out by scrolling through Facebook to see what I may have missed in the lives of friends and family instead of writing a blog post.  Yeah, I know….not a productive use of my time…but mindless which is what I needed I guess.

And that’s where I ran across this little gem.   If you’re addicted to social media in any way, you may find yourself taking these inane quizzes that pop up on your newsfeed.  You know the ones.  What flower are you?  Or what kind of house are you? Or what country are you? 

I usually pass by those but every once in a while I fall prey to one and succumb to taking the quiz.    I admit they are pretty ridiculous and random and I’m fairly certain the answers you get are random as well.  But occasionally, the results of one of those idiotic quizzes makes me think “Hmmm, that kind of does describe me.”

I know.  Silly. 

If you’ve read much of my writing, there is one thing I do think that stands out.  I do try to be genuine.  I attempt to be frank and authentic in my writing and I’ll use that buzz word that seemed to be making the rounds for a while – transparent.

In other words, I try to keep it real.

Well, wouldn’t you know it?  During this ‘off’ time away from writing blog posts, I answered one of those Facebook quizzes  named “What four-letter word best describes you?”  (That sounds a little risky, doesn’t it?) The resulting four-letter word could have been any one of these: hope, calm, kind, love, or real.

And this is what I got:  “REAL. You are a very sincere and honest human being. You’re very much in line with your values, and you always try to be a better person for yourself and for others. As a person with integrity, you are principled and you keep it real like no other. You don’t just talk the talk, you actually walk the walk every single day.”

While I’m not totally convinced that description really does fit me,  as a believer in Jesus I do strive to be the kind of person described in the above paragraph. So, I could explain my blogging world absence by saying I was taking time to concentrate on so many other areas of my life or that I was just so preoccupied with activities and events, I just couldn’t find time to write.

But you know what?  I’m keepin’ it real.  The truth is that my life is no busier than yours is.    And I’m certainly not perfect, nor do I lead a perfect life or keep a perfectly clean, tidy house.  The trash can is overflowing, dirty dishes are piled up in the sink that also needs a thorough scrubbing, and the carpet needs vacuumed. That’s reality. 

But the truth is sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it all.

So why didn’t I write anything during the last few weeks?  Here’s the truth.  I just didn’t feel like it.   And that’s keepin’ it real.

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com