The longest month

alone branches bridge bright

Photo by Pixabay on

Why does January seem so long?

It’s true there are 31 days in this month, but six other months of the year also possess that amount of days: March, May, July, August, November, and December. Yet those months don’t seem to drag on like January does.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m wishing my life away. No, I’m far from that but it just seems, every year about the third week of January, I’m saying to myself, “January isn’t over yet?”

Okay, let’s imagine some reasons why I feel this way:

  • Maybe it’s the big let-down from Christmas. Other years I might grab onto that for a good reason, but this year, we didn’t take down the Christmas fooferall (decorations) on New Year’s Day like we usually do. Nope, those lights and Christmas finery continued to decorate our house a couple weeks into the month. And the Christmas tree was the last to be dismantled. So, I’m not buying that one.
  • Perhaps it’s the winter weather that makes the month seem like it will never end. But this year, January has been unseasonably warm and almost spring-like until just last week when we received some snow (but not much) and colder temperatures. So, no, we can discount that theory.
  • Perchance it’s the inactivity of the month. Fall months are busy with holidays and preparations. What’s so special about January? No major holiday to make special meals or celebrate with loved ones. Not a lot of events on the calendar even. But I have been busy cleaning out drawers, closets, and sorting through items to discard, donate, or relegate to the garage sale pile accumulating in the basement. So, I don’t think it’s that.
  • Maybe it’s a lack of physical movement. Uh, no…see above. Plus I still take my morning walks outside in the brisk air with my long-time friend. Afraid that’s not it either.

Well, I’ve run out of reasons and have negated all the ones above for why I’m so tired of the month of January. So why does January seem to last so very long??

No wait…I think I figured it out. It just took me a moment to gaze outside the window. What’s that bright orb in the sky that’s making me squint like a mole who just came up for a bit of fresh air from his underground tunnel?

Oh, yes! It’s the sun! Sunshine, the aspect that makes me smile, puts a little jig in my step, and causes me to sing “sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy,” doesn’t occur very often in winter, particularly January in my neck of the woods.

Matter of fact, I recently read an internet article which proclaimed that my nearest city has 162 days of the year WITHOUT sunshine. Officially, there’s documentation to prove that for a good portion of wintertime (from November through January) our area is overcast with cloudy skies and very little sun.  

Now I know there are other cities in the United States that don’t have a lot of sunshine either during the winter months – places in Alaska immediately come to my mind as well as Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon (and I can speak from personal experience for that one as we lived there for six years).

But I finally have figured out why January seems like it lasts forrrrrr-evvvvvvv-errrrrrrrr. It’s dreary, its gray, it’s overcast, it’s lacking sunshine, not to mention the days are short because sunrise arrives late and sunset arrives early.

So on those rare days when the sun shows its happy face, it will make my face happy as well. It’s easy to be grateful for a little ray of sunshine even in the middle of a long, dreary January, but I also will choose to be happy and thankful for these 31 long days of January as well, despite the lack of sunshine.

Sometimes you have to just make your own sunshine because happiness comes from within.

“Men always forget that human happiness is a disposition of mind and not a condition of circumstances.” ~ John Locke





Will Spring ever spring?

No time for deep thinking today or even putting my thoughts (such as they are) into words.   It’s just another dreary, bleary, depressing day of constant rain, fog and general dullness.   Spring is slow in arriving in our area this year.  So I’m trying to think happy thoughts of the season by viewing  some of my old photos from springs gone by.

Hope they brighten your day as well!

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I’ve got the time, but all I can do is rhyme

pexels-photo-269448.jpegI’ve got the blahs,

There’s no use in lyin’.

I’m cranky and blue,

And I’m not even tryin’!

I’ve got lots of ideas

Scribbled down on a pad,

But no motivation to write

Like inspiration’s been had.

I could blame it on weather

Or that old empty nest.

But the truth of the matter

Is I’m stuck on “just rest.”

My get up and go

Has vacated the place.

I’d come in dead last

If writing blogs were a race.

My mind wants a break,

My body wants sleep.

When I come home from work

Written words I can’t reap.

So tonight I’m signing off

At least for this time.

It seems all I can write

Is this silly little rhyme.

And besides….

I need to go watch Hines.  (Dancing With the Stars elimination show is on shortly!  Go Hines Ward!!)


Color my world (please) part two

blogDSCN0573And so the story continues.  Empty nest mama living a quiet life of peace and solitude with hubby feels sad on occasion because: (choose one)

a.  her children have all grown up and moved away

b.  sunshine is missing in her neck of the woods

c.  the view outside her window is colorless

d.  all of the above

If you chose response d, you win a gold star today!!  You are an ace pupil.  You’ve been reading Mama’s book of Opportunity for quite some time now and you thoroughly comprehend the subject matter.  You probably have even read her previous edition copyrighted in 2010.

So on this snowy day – yes, it is snowing again in my snowglobe world here! – this 12th page in Chapter Two, I shall reward you (and me too!) by providing a plethora of colorful photos from the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, taken last February on my mini excursion to the ‘islands’ with my husband.

They are a much more welcomed sight than the sideways snow squall I’m watching out my kitchen window right now.  Really!  The snow is blowing sideways like my snowglobe got knocked over.  Even the hawk that just flew out of a tree behind our property is fighting to fly against the barrage of snow and having a hard time of it.

So let’s fly away ourselves to a happy place via photographs!  Hope you enjoy the explosion of color in case your world is as barren as mine right now!

The spectacular, gigantic glass art pictured above hung from the dome and greeted us when we entered the conservatory.  Read more about this fascinating work created by Washington artist Dale Chihuly here:

We left the snowglobe and stepped into verdure so lushly green I really did feel like we had just landed on some tropical island.  As we meandered from one section of the conservatory to another, feasting on all the colorful sights, I could not stop photographing everything, probably due to the color deficit I experienced looking outside at my landscape every day at home! I was drawn to the vibrant colors like a butterfly to sweet nectar.



I even enjoyed the southwestern room with cacti of all sorts and shapes. Then we visited the rooms where the Orchid Show unveiled sights of glorious color in flowers so unique and intricate and fragrance so sweet.







After this uplifting few hours of vacation time away from the bleakness and dreariness of winter, our respite ended and we traveled back to our country home….to the sight below.

Perhaps, being the astute reader you are, you will understand why I feel so color-deprived and why I love this quote by Victor Hugo ~ “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”  


This snow globe’s making me quirky!

pexels-photo-314829.jpegSometimes you just feel like you’re stuck in a snow globe of winter.   Same thing, every day.  Same scenery, same blanket of white covering all the color in your world.

After all the sameness, I’m ready for something unique and different on the ninth page of Chapter Two in my new book, Opportunity. [That’s February 9, 2011 for those of you who haven’t been following my blog since January 1.]

As far as days go, today proved to be a typical, average kind of day.  A work day – not very eventful – and a cold, wintry day as the outdoor thermometer hanging outside my kitchen window displayed a near zero mark – but that too is the usual kind of day for February. So as the old saying goes, I have “nothing new to write home to mother about.”

Life seems a little mundane this week, even as hubby and I deal with a few changes to which we must adjust.  But this same old “business as usual” routine forced me to wonder if anything exciting ever happened on this day.

I performed a tad of research and thought I’d share what I learned about some of the informative events that did in fact take place on this date –  February 9th – just in case you need a trivial treat for the day!

  • In 1775, English Parliament declared that the colony of Massachusetts was “in rebellion.”  Guess they found out that declaring your teenager is rebellious doesn’t really solve the problem, huh?
  • Alanson (wonder if he was Alan’s son?) Crane patented the fire extinguisher on this day in 1863.  Buildings everywhere thank you, Mr. Crane, seriously.
  • Nebraska became our 37th state today back in 1867.  We would have a hole in the middle of our country if we didn’t have the “Cornhusker” State or Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming and a tiny bit of Missouri would be horribly misshaped.
  • The U.S. Army established the U.S. National Weather Service on this date in 1870.  Having survived through numerous tornado warnings and watches myself, I’m grateful for that!  Keep up the good work, weather service people.
  • This one will astound you – the first shipment of asparagus arrived in San Francisco from Sacramento in 1891 on February 9.  Um, apparently the fine citizens of San Francisco were asparagus-less prior to that.  And apparently, even today asparagus must cost a fortune to ship because it is one of the pricier veggies at my supermarket.
  • You athletic types will enjoy the fact that volleyball was invented by W. G. Morgan in Massachusetts on February 9, 1895.  Thousands of volleyball teams, backyard and beach enthusiasts have Morgan to thank.
  • In 1922, snow fell on this date on Mauna Loa, Hawaii.   Seems to me, just lately, the same phenomena occurred.  Could there have been “global climate change” back then too?!
  • Teaching the theory of evolution was forbidden on this date in 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia schools.  Now teaching or even mentioning creation is forbidden in public schools all across our country.   Of course, some people call this progress.  I call it regression.
  • On this day in 1932, America entered an Olympic two-man bobsled competition for the first time.  “Hey mon…USA, we got a bob-sled team!”  (You’re only going to understand that reference if you’ve ever watched the 90’s movie, “Cool Runnings.”)
  • Prepare to be shocked by the following facts.  On February 9, 1933, the temperature recorded in Moran, Wyoming was  -63 degrees F, that’s 63 degrees below zero!  Can you believe that?? More “global climate change,” evidently!  Who knew?? And it continued because on the same day in 1934, New York City experienced its coldest day with minus 14 degrees F and a state record was set in Vanderbilt, Michigan with  a below zero temperature of -51 degrees F!   Of course, back then, no one was telling them that “our planet has a fever!”
  • “Look!  It’s a bird, it’s a plane….it’s Superman!”  Yep, on Feb. 9, 1953, the “Adventures of Superman” TV series premiered in syndication.  And I’m old enough to claim watching those episodes on TV in the late 50’s too.
  • When I was just a toddler way back in 1956, R. Lacoste followed Catroux as premier of Algeria.  I’ll admit I have never heard of either of them, but I wonder if Lacoste wore shirts with little alligators on them?
  • How many of you remember songs from the 50’s like I do?  In 1959, the Coasters’ hit song “Charlie Brown” peaked on the charts at #2 on this day.  He was a clown, that Charlie Brown, going around asking “Why’s everybody always picking on me?”
  • I know I’ve kicked the climate change thing around enough, but I just can’t resist telling you that on this day in 1963, New York City recorded its 7th largest snowfall in history – 16.7″ of the white stuff!  Sounds like a repeat of 2011, doesn’t it?
  • Two events of social and cultural noteworthiness occurred on Feb. 9, 1964.  The Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and some 73.7 million viewers tuned in to the TV program (I was one of them!) and swooning, teenage girls were never the same again after that.  Don’t worry, guys, you weren’t left out of the excitement because GI Joe, the epitome of American soldiers and first male doll action figure with guts was created on this day.  A real American hero!
  • And my final triviality will really blow your mind.  Back in 1992 on this day, Thomas School from Germany was named the fastest yodeler when he yodeled 22 different tones, 15 of them falsetto, in one second!   Hey, I can’t explain ‘em, I just report ‘em!

I’m not certain if my blog proves to be a bright spot in the snow globe where you live today,  but just writing it makes mine a little more upbeat and fun.   And quirky.   Which is just what I needed on this day in February, Chapter Two, Page 9, in my book called Opportunity.


Silver liquid drops of grace

pexels-photo-355844.jpegI don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade today, but I must comment on the rainy season that seems to have a good grip on a major portion of our country.

Every where I wander, I overhear snippets of conversations complaining about the rain and chilly weather which seems to have my neck of the woods in a headlock.

I’m not Pollyanna – the character in the children’s novel by the same name written by Eleanor H. Porter – who always has an optimistic outlook.  I become just as easily discouraged as anyone and don’t always “look on the bright side.”

So I’m not crazy about the chilling rain we’re experiencing either, but I think God is trying to teach me a lesson about complaining and His grace.

If you search hard enough you can find some great inspirational thoughts about rainy weather.  Someone once said, “And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”  True enough.  I especially like the idea of looking up, not just to be an optimist, but to really look up to God, who is there for me in balmy weather as much as baleful times.

Supposedly the legendary baseball player Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.”  I like that sentiment.  How often I turn to God in prayer when I’m saddled with burdens, but I need to converse even more with Him when life is superb.  He wants to hear my praise and my joys and my thankfulness.

One of my all-time favorite Christian music artists is Michael W. Smith.  I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times and his music never fails to inspire me and bring me closer to the God I worship.  I’m not certain in what context Smith said this thought, but I appreciate his words. He said, “Healing rain is a real touch from God.  It could be physical or emotional or whatever.”

That reminds me that rain washes away the dirt and grime, making earth clean and renewed.  Isn’t that what God did when He saved me?  He removed the ugly from my life, washing it away, making me clean and whole and yes, healed and renewed.

In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 11:13-15, it is written, “So if you  faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today –  to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.  I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.”   God, in His omnipotence and omniscience, knows exactly what I need when I need it.  He provides what I need, even the rain in my life, to bless and bring me into closer fellowship with Him.

Many years ago when I was a college student, I read several works of literature written by the late American writer John Updike, but I never realized until recently that he was a believing Christian.  I found this quote by him and for me, it is a keeper.  “Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.”

Grace does fall down on me like rain, it washes over me, it cleanses me, it redeems me, and then it renews me.  And without grace, I would not have life.

Instead of complaining about the rain, I’m choosing today to rejoice just as the prophet Joel told us in Joel 2:22-24 (New International Version) -“Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness.   He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.”

Despite my propensity to allow dreary weather to affect me negatively, I will rejoice this day.  Why?  Because I know Jesus as my Savior.  My joy, my fulfillment, my satisfaction is in Him alone. I want to serve Him, to know Him better, and grow in my relationship with Him.   I pray you will desire that “new wine and oil” as well.

Finally, here is a quote by another American writer.  Langston Hughes said, “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”   Please let the following video sing over you and let grace fall down over you like silver liquid drops of rain straight from the Father’s throne.


Raindrops and grace


“Rain drops keep falling on my head.  But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red, crying’s not for me.  ‘Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining.”    

But the truth of the matter is it’s still colder than usual, still rainy, and the sun’s still missing in action.  I’m not complaining, just merely relating the facts.  A dreary day like today tends to make me feel a little down.

Of course, it didn’t help that I also had a dental appointment today.  I greatly dislike going to the dentist, even though I have the most wonderful, gentle dentist on earth.  He really is very kind and reminds me of a big teddy bear, plus he usually makes me laugh with his dental mask that looks like a doggie with whiskers.   I’ve been known to have panic attacks in the dental chair in the past – I blame them on my childhood dentist, who scared me on more than one occasion.   But that didn’t happen today.

My dentist owns his own office building and his suite is on the top floor.  All the dental chairs face the huge plate glass windows, so it’s hard to feel claustrophobic in there when you can look out the window and see for miles.   But as my hygienist cranked my chair back to an upright position, the view I observed outside the window was a gray, gloomy, dismally dim vista with plenty of dark rain clouds crowding up the sky.

I left my appointment with smooth, squeaky clean teeth, which made me happy, but it was still raining, which didn’t make me happy.  So I drove to the nearby shopping mall and searched for some fall clothes.  That didn’t help my dismal mood either.  After a couple of hours and umpteen trips to the dressing rooms, I didn’t find much that suited my body, my mood, or my pocketbook.

On the way home, I called my sister and stopped by her house for a visit.  That just made me a little sad too because her sweet little doggie isn’t feeling well – bronchitis.  Who would think dogs get bronchitis? I felt so sorry for her when she coughed; I was sympathetic because I’m just now finally over (I think) the flu/cold/whatever it was that lasted for two weeks!

But after I arrived back home, (and yes, I finally surrendered and turned on the heat!) one of my favorite Christian praise songs popped in my head (thank you, Lord!).  So I wanted to share it with my readers today in case you’re feeling a little out of sorts too.   God is always faithful and each day He gives me grace – it falls on me like rain – and that is enough for me.  Is it enough for you too?


Missing in action

pexels-photo-301599.jpegMy feet, those feet that love to be free from the shackles of socks and shoes, are freezing!

I’m wearing socks, but I need to search my closet and locate my cozy, fuzzy slippers.  The weather is dreary, overcast, rainy, and downright chilly in my neck of the woods.

Right now it is 58 degrees inside my house and about 51 degrees outside.  Brrr!  And I refuse to turn on the heat so soon in the season.  My last natural gas bill was very low and I would like to keep it that way for another month at least.

This is not typical weather for my homeland in the early part of October.  The golden sun that usually warms our autumn days is missing in action.  I’m ready to file a missing star report on it.  I’m sure the police will want to know the particulars, so I better get my facts straight, because  I’ll probably end up talking with a Dragnet style detective – you know, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

  1. Missing star’s name? The Sun aka Sol.
  2. Age? Really old, created by God, Master Designer of the Universe, most likely on the first day.
  3. Height & weight?  Well, he is about 864,400 miles wide, but I’m not sure how tall he is; weighs about 2 thousand trillion tons, give or take a few pounds.
  4. Address?  I’m not exactly sure, but I know he lives in the middle of our solar system.
  5. Physical features? Very hot! Round, blindingly bright, sometimes white, yellow, or orange, even reddish, has a few sun spots here and there.
  6. Known friends?  Earth for one.  There are some other planets that hang around him – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.  They’re the big dogs, but there’s this little wanna-be that hangs around too.  Goes by the name of Pluto.
  7. Known hangouts?  He’s always seen in the east in the morning, then moves over to the westside in the afternoon.  I don’t know where the heck he goes at night – must be the other side of the globe!
  8. Last known whereabouts?  Just the other day he was in the sky above my house, but haven’t seen him for a few days, longer than 24 hours, that’s for sure!

I’m hopeful the police will put out an APB (all points bulletin) for him and find his whereabouts.  Maybe he’s just hiding out for some reason.  I just know I want him back.  If you see him, please tell him I love him, I miss him, I need him, and send him this way.  ASAP!


Cloudy with a chance of sun showers


“Today there will be sun showers.”  When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, that’s a line the TV weatherman would actually use.   It meant there would be a break in the gloomy curtains of rain or mist when the sun would peek through periodically.

I could use some sun showers today.   Yesterday was such a glorious day and this day following is a big disappointment.  It’s chilly – only in the mid 60’s.  Yesterday was in the upper 70’s.  It’s raining, actually pouring at my house.  Although our parched brown grass can certainly use the rain, it’s a little depressing after yesterday’s sun fest.  The sky is bleak and overcast and there is a black storm cloud just hanging over my house.  (That is it in the picture above!)

Yesterday I felt like singing.  I embraced a happy-go-lucky kind of feeling all day long.  This morning when I awakened and looked out my window, I felt like crawling back into bed and snuggling under the covers for the rest of the day.

Now before you think I’m bi-polar, you must realize I am just one of those people who is affected by weather.   Sunshine makes me happy.  Period.  Gray skies, not so much.

Rainstorms don’t necessarily make me sad; there are times when I love watching the rain, hearing the thunder-clap, viewing the lightning zap.   But when there’s just a steady rain,  skies are gray all day, and you must have lights on in the house in the middle of the day, it can make me feel gloomy too.   Abrupt changes in the barometric pressure actually give me headaches.  It’s strange, I know.  But it’s true.

blogDSCN6771Although I don’t have a headache today, I’m feeling really lethargic and cold – even my feet are encased in socks today!

There are a million things I should be doing since it’s a day off work, but I honestly don’t feel like it.

I could be cleaning; I could be taming the “too much stuff monsters” in my basement; I could be doing laundry; I could be transporting some of the clutter that I’ve already tamed to our local charity store.  The list goes on.

If I got busy and got moving, I’d be warmer.  Yet I sit here at my computer, shivering a little, writing my blog and whining, and when I’m finished, I want to camp out on the couch with a blanket, a cup of hot tea, and a good book.  Even my kitty seems unenergetic today.  She’s just lounging around the house as well, not willing to go outside, just wanting to sleep anywhere!

That’s how days like today affect my mood. It’s quiet here too, of course, and that doesn’t help much.  And in the quiet of this lonely, dismal day, those dreaded old empty nest blues rear their ugly heads again.  Just when I think I’ve got them cornered, cuffed, and cordoned off in their cell, they break free and bombard me with looming loneliness and woe is me wallops.

But wait, there’s a chance of sun showers today after all!  Middle daughter is coming home late this afternoon (after she gets some rest from working a 12-hour night shift at her hospital) for a visit.  We’ll have a nice home-cooked meal together rescuing me from a lonely evening while her dad attends his civic club meeting.  She’s spending the night in her old bedroom and the day with her empty nest mama tomorrow.

Suddenly my mood brightens.  Thank you God for the sun showers!  I’ll take them as often as you see fit to send them.


Looking through glass dimly to see the Son

blogDSCN6772I feel as though I’m looking at my surroundings today with dim eyes or through a fine mesh screen which casts a dismal view over what I see.

And there’s nothing wrong with my vision.  This view from my deck reflects what I mean.

In addition to being Monday, it’s been a slightly rainy, majorly overcast day today.  I could sing, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down” here, but really that’s not my point.  Being a Monday is not what makes me see dimly and I’m not feeling downcast either.

Today the world just looks bleak to me, even though we are still in summer’s season.  Flowers still bloom; grass and leaves on the trees are still lushly green.

The color is still visible, but somehow muted.  It’s so overcast today that it appears like a dull gray pall covers everything.

The sun is nowhere to be seen, and in spite of the fact that I’m not much of a summer person, I am a sun person.  I love sunny days; I love to see the sun reflect off of water or anything that catches those golden rays.

The sun elicits vibrant colors of flowers in our garden, pots, and porch boxes;  the verdant green of our yard and leaves of the trees, and the blissful blue of the sky with those cotton candy clouds.  But not today.

As I write these words, God brings a scripture to my mind, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12  (King James Version)

It does seem like I am seeing through a glass darkly today.  This scripture vividly reminds me what any day without Jesus Christ must be like, for He is the Son (sun).  Without Him in my life, things would look bleak, dark, even confused.

I grabbed my Bible to read and examine this verse the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians and to us today.  I think he’s telling us, “Just wait!”  What we can’t see now, or don’t understand now, and what appears difficult to define now will be revealed in full glory for us when we, who He knows so intimately, meet our Savior face to face in heaven.

There we’ll see the “big picture,” revealed in a more vibrant, brilliantly technicolored scene than we could ever imagine here on earth.  And let’s face it, we’ve got some pretty impressive colors and scenes here on earth to behold!

When our sun, THE son Jesus Christ, shines – whether it’s when we enter glory or He returns to earth in all His glory – it will be dazzling!

The luminous light of heaven will remove all the obscuring clouds and darkness that now hides the face of God from us.  What a day that will be!

Isaiah 32:3 ~ “The eyes of those who see will not be dim, and the ears of those who hear will listen.” (King James Version)

The sun may not be shining in the sky today, but it’s shining in my heart.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!