Empty nest Christmas Eve

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It’s true that Mama’s Empty Nest will be empty this Christmas. My loved ones are flung far and wide.

Oldest daughter and son-in-law embarked on yet another adventurous excursion in another part of the world over the holidays.

Middle daughter must take care of the ill and infirm during her hospital shift as a nurse while Little One visits her other grandparents in another state.

Son, daughter-in-law, and Second Little One are celebrating with DIL’s family this year in yet another state.

So it’s just Papa and me keeping the home fires burning and the Christmas lights on.

But I refuse to be sad because this is a holiday to celebrate my Savior’s birth. Hence the poem I’ve written below.  (With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, the author of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the empty nest 

Not a creature was stirring, there wasn’t one guest. 

Two lonely stockings hung by the chimney with care,

With no hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled elsewhere all snug in their beds;

While visions of their own Christmases danced in their heads;

And Papa in his pjs, and Mama not stressed, 

Had just settled in the bedroom for a good night’s rest.

When out on the lawn there wasn’t a sound,

But I decided to see just what was around.

Away to the window I walked so slowly,

And opened the blinds to look out and see.

The moon shined brightly like any other night,

But there was absolutely nothing, nowhere in sight.

No extra cars in the driveway, no human tracks in the snow,

There was only a deer darting through the yard below.

It wasn’t a reindeer but the usual kind,

And Christmases past began running through my mind,

When the house was full of laughter and fun

And all our children were home, yes every single one.

More rapid than eagles the memories came,

And I smiled as I remembered and called them by name.

That Christmas time spent with our first little child,

How excited she became and was no longer mild.

Then the second one arrived and doubled the fun

When two stockings hung by the chimney instead of one.

Our Christmas holiday became even more merry

With another bundle of joy in our arms we did carry.

As the years flew by in the snow bank of my mind

I thought how our family has been blessed oh so kind.

Three children God gave us to make our lives full

How I cherished each one of them every single Yule.

As I recalled special moments from all of those years

My eyes started filling with melancholy tears.

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

There’s no reason for sadness, no reason to bawl.

The blessings are many this cold Christmas night,

And I must keep them all clearly in my sight.

A husband who always stays by my side,

Whose love and support does constantly abide.

Three wonderful children who’ve grown up so well,

Their love and concern for me makes my heart swell.

And spouses for them that make our family complete;

The time spent with them all is truly a treat.

Included in the circle two sweet granddaughters dear

Who call me their Nana and make my heart cheer.

To add to the blessings in quite an array,

Is a new little life that will join us in May.

A family so loving, good friends far and near,

My home, good food, there’s no need to be drear.

Plentiful blessings abound in my life,

On this eve before Christmas, there’s no need for strife.

For the most wonderful gift has been given to me,

And it didn’t come from Santa nor was placed ‘neath the tree.

A gift full of indescribable love so divine

It came from a good Father, a gift to call mine.

For tomorrow we celebrate Christmas, it’s true,

And the reason we do so I must keep in my view.

My house may be empty of loved ones this year,

But my heart is overflowing with joy so sincere.

The reason for the season, it’s Jesus, my King,

And because of His love for me, it makes my heart sing.

On this night so holy, one to revere,

A Savior was born; at midnight it’s clear,

Christmas Day will arrive here in our empty nest,

But sadness will not prevail, instead I am blessed.

I will celebrate my Savior, let joy fill my heart,

Even though most of my loved ones and I are apart.

So I’ve put an end to my empty nest woe,

Christmas memories come and Christmas memories go.

But what is important is the joy we can find

When we look to a Savior and leave sadness behind.

The message is simple, no matter what your day brings,

Giving thanks for the Savior is what makes your joy ring.

On this quiet Christmas Eve, these thoughts my insight,

Merry CHRISTmas to all and to all a good night!

On Christmas Eve, I will not wallow in my empty nest. Instead I will sing Joy to the World, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and the First Noel

And I will give thanks to God the Father for His precious gift to us, His Son Jesus. Emmanuel. God With Us.

“You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift.” -John R. Rice

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

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Child-like joy

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Jumping for joy in the rain

When did we start to lose that joy we felt as a child over the simplest things?

You know, that joy that comes from swirling your tongue around an icy cold ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day?

That joy that bubbles up inside of you when you watch a butterfly land on a bright yellow flower and you just have to smile with happiness?

That squeal of delight that bursts forth from your mouth when you spin round and round until you’re dizzy and fall on the ground laughing?

When did it stop? Because for a lot of us, somewhere along the way to adulthood, it did. It ceased.

Was it when we entered the teen years because we wanted to look cool instead of expressing delight in the things that we now considered ‘childish?’ Was it even earlier than that when adults told us to grow up, and stop acting like children even though we still were that very thing?

Or was it in adulthood when the realities of living in the world, taking care of yourself, and facing responsibility outweighed those joy-filled moments?  

I thought of this the other day while watching our three-year-old grandchild. We were outside enjoying a sunny summer day and she was “helping” Nana and Papa with some yard work.  As the afternoon progressed, the sun slipped behind some gray-tinged clouds that moved in when we weren’t looking.

Suddenly, it started to sprinkle rain drops. Here. There. Drip. Drop.  Then the raindrops fell quickly, leaving little splashes of water on the sidewalk and on us. Just a light and soft rain but enough that Papa started putting garden tools away in the garage and Nana escaped to sit on the front porch.

But not Little One! Oh no, she tilted her face upwards to the gently falling rain, held her arms upward, and exclaimed, “It’s raining! It’s raining! Nana, I love rain!!”

blogimg_4303.jpgShe danced up and down the sidewalk, twirled in circles with outstretched arms, and leaped into the air repeating how much she adored rain and she thoroughly enjoyed getting wet.

She didn’t scurry to get in out of the rain shower, she embraced it. She didn’t dash to obtain an umbrella, she ran with joy and abandonment through the rain soaking up every delicious drop of joy.

Because to her, it was something of joy. Something delightful to behold. Something to savor and revel in and yes, seize the moment to totally relish it.

I observed her briefly and suddenly began laughing myself as her joy became contagious. This little one was teaching her grandmother an important lesson. Joy comes from within. 

I ran inside the house to grab my camera to capture those moments of child-like joy on the face of my grandchild.

I wanted to freeze this moment in time because someday she will be a teenager, and all too soon she will be a grown-up.  Will she still feel the same way about a sudden little rain shower? Probably not.

She’ll view it as an inconvenience preventing her from whatever she wanted to accomplish. She’ll bemoan the fact that it is ruining her plans for the day. Or it’s messing up her hairstyle. Or some other reason not to find joy in the rain.

As I watched her that afternoon, a wish for her entered my thoughts that she never lose her joy or her enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of life. That she embraces life, come what may, just like she embraced the rain that day. With utter and complete joy. 

And this Nana will try diligently to model that for her and teach her to consider all things in this life with joy. 

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” ~ Richard Wagner, German composer

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Finding joy in a flooded basement

blogDSCN8624Things could be worse.

Here at Mama’s Empty Nest we experienced a rude awakening this morning.  Hubby gently roused me and asked if I had to work today.  Bewildered and groggy, I replied, “No, why?”

“Good thing,” he answered.  “We have no hot water.”  As he shivered from a cold shower and quickly dressed, I gathered my wits.

A trip to the basement revealed a flood surrounding the vicinity of the hot water tank.   Great.  Hubby hurriedly moved nearby items away from the source and started squeegee-ing water towards the basement floor drain.  Mindful of my bad back, I moved light boxes out of the way and tried to see how far the water had spread.

Our basement is full – and I do mean full – of all kinds of things in storage.  Our nest is a revolving door with our adult children coming and going and using it as a depository for all of the extra stuff they don’t need yet or want in their apartments.  So boxes, plastic tubs, furniture, small appliances, and all kinds of what-nots await in monstrous piles to be transported to their permanent homes when the kids marry and finally get settled.

I quickly surveyed oldest daughter’s piano to make sure it was out of harm’s way and was relieved to see it was.  Drat, I thought.  We’ll have to move all this stuff around tonight when hubby gets home and haul out some wet carpeting to the garbage.  In addition, we’ll have to open up some boxes and make sure nothing was damaged.  Not what I had planned today, that’s for sure.  And darn it, my achy back and hip are bothering me again as well!  Plus there’s the expense of purchasing and installing a new hot water heater.  What a way to begin the day!

Back upstairs in the kitchen, hubby heated water in the teakettle so he could shave and leave for work while I perused the telephone book yellow pages in search of a repairman.   After a couple unsuccessful calls, I talked to a gentleman who lived near our home.  “I’ll be over in just a few minutes,” he promised.

True to his word, this repairman arrived not long after I jumped out of my jammies and into some clothes.  He assessed the situation quickly and said he’d be back in no time with a new water heater, but he would have to bring some help as he recently had emergency surgery and wasn’t able to lift heavy objects.

I offered how sorry I was for that, and he remarked with a laugh, “Oh, it could be worse!”  I couldn’t get over how chipper he was and how much of an optimist he appeared to be.   He was downright jovial, I thought, and laughed easily as we chatted.  Must be one of those early morning people, I decided.

He returned with two friends and a brand new water heater in tow.  While he worked, we discussed how things don’t last, how outrageously expensive items are, and how we get less for our money nowadays.   “Oh well,” he said, “it could be worse.”

He repeated that saying several times in the course of our conversation.  Finally, he revealed the reason for his opinion.  A few months ago, a man had been working on a gas line in a nearby town and the deep ditch he was in collapsed onto him.  He was encased in soil, unable to move for quite some time until rescue workers were able to free him.

That man was my water heater repairman today.   As he casually mentioned it, claustrophobic me was shocked.  I said, “Oh, bless your heart! How did you stand it? I would have died from fright!”

He said, “You know, I could have died, but I didn’t even have one broken bone from the weight of all that dirt on me.  I figure God wanted me to stay here for something.  It just wasn’t my time.”

And he laughed.   He.  Laughed.  This man had stared down death and instead of being paralyzed by the trauma of what had happened to him, he rejoiced in life.   His demeanor was full of joy.  Joy for life.  Joy for his work.  Joy for each day.

He continued by saying that he doesn’t get upset over things like he used to.  Those things are trivial and he said it again, “It could always be a lot worse.”

What a lesson I was given early this morning for this day in my book of Opportunity.   Waking up to no hot water and a flooded basement floor wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t the end of the world either.  I had water, I had a warm home, I had all the other necessities of life right at my fingertips.

And I had a prompt and able repairman who installed my new water heater and had it working by 10:15 this morning.  I appreciated his quick response and his ability to restore my hot water.

But you know what?  I appreciate the lesson he gave me about joy even more.  He reminded me that no matter what trouble comes your way, there’s joy to be found because “it could always be worse.”

Copyright  ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com