I’ve been out of this world for a couple of weeks…out of the blogging world that is.
But I’ve also been somewhat out of my own world as well. Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t take a trip to the moon virtually or otherwise. I didn’t find myself in some alternate reality either. And I didn’t vacate my mind for a sojourn to live in a fantasy land.
Nope, none of those, but I still was out of my usual world. The Papa of this empty nest and I took a respite. We boarded a big ol’ jet airliner and headed in another direction from our home. And contrary to the Steve Miller Band lyrics from their song Jet Airliner, the plane did carry us far away.
But that story I’m saving for a later post. This post is meeting the photo challenge of the past week – Out of This World.
Plus I just might be teasing you a tad with my photo to see if you can guess where we traveled. Leave your speculation in the comments below.
(Facebook friends, sorry, you are disqualified from this round of “Where in the World Was Mama?” since you viewed photos I posted on my personal Facebook while I was ‘out of this world.’)
“It’s useful to go out of this world and see it from the perspective of another one.” ~ Terry Pratchett
It happens often so I’ve learned to keep my camera near me.
While out and about, countless times I’ve come upon a scene that just begs to be captured by my camera. If I go out purposefully looking for something to photograph, I don’t always succeed. More often than not, I just stumble onto a picturesque setting or a particular angle that catches my eye.
And more times than I can count in the past, I didn’t have my camera along. Those shots I missed unfortunately only exist in my memory. I could try to describe them for you, but I find the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” to be oh, so true.
I’m a bit behind in the weekly photo challenges, as last week’s challenge was tour guide.
If someone were to visit the area where I live and I would be his tour guide, what would I show him? I think I could conjure up several ideas. But the one thing that stands out for me is this, the aspect of this place where I live that I love.
We have four distinct seasons of the year.
So let me be your tour guide and take you on a visit to each season – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter – in my neck of the woods.
And the collage I’ve fashioned for you above? I just happened to stumble upon those photo opportunities while I was doing something else.
“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block
It’s February and now that we’re past Groundhog Day when that famous weather prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted to everyone’s dismay that we would have six more weeks of winter, we prepare to celebrate the other holiday of the month.
Valentine’s Day. And our minds turn to love.
Love is a word we banter around a lot. I love this song. Or I love my pet. Love to ski. Love doughnuts. Love this, love that.
It’s one of those words in the English language that we use to proclaim our fondness for all sorts of things unlike the Greek language which has different words for different types of love.
The photo challenge for this past week was Beloved
While deliberating over what photograph to post for the challenge, I asked myself who do I love? Who is my beloved?
My husband of 40 years? Absolutely. My three adult children? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. My two adorable grandchildren? Oh, yes, indubitably!
My sisters and their families? Sure thing. Friends? Well, of course. And the list could go on, just like the many ways I could count to say why I love all of these people.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
You may recognize this as the opening line to a famous poem written by Elizabeth Barret Browning (1806-1861). She wrote this sonnet (#43) to her beloved, her husband Robert Browning.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Even though I love those I’ve listed above beyond measure, there’s one I love even more. He is my beloved and I am his. His name is Jesus and he is my Savior.
It occurs to me that I could read this poem and address it to him and it would aptly fit. And he could read it right back to me because he loves me that much.
And he loves you the same, even if you don’t know him yet.
I don’t have a photograph of my beloved to share for this challenge. Oh, there are artists’ renditions out there of him, but we don’t know how accurate they are. But I do have something tangible that represents my beloved and I can photograph that.
It’s my Bible. And when I open it to read it, it tells me what I need to know about the one I love, my beloved, the one who loved me and you so much, he died that we might live.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 (NIV)
“I asked Jesus, ‘How much do you love me?’ ‘This much,’ he answered. Then he stretched out his arms and died.” ~ unknown
Wouldn’t life be boring if it was always the same old same old? We need variety – isn’t it the spice of life?
We yearn for variation from the norm. At least I know I do. This past week’s photo challenge has been variations on a theme.
Several thoughts rolled around in my mind as I considered this challenge and I started scrolling through my photo cache to see if I could locate any photos that fit the bill.
My first thought about variations on a theme was musical. Stored back there somewhere in the archives of my quirky brain are a number of classical music pieces entitled thusly. Composers would take a basic melody and then write variations composing a unique piece of music built around that one musical theme.
Click on this for an example that I particularly liked : Variations on a theme by Tchaikovsky
My next thought about variations on a theme centered around the age-old art of quilting. My mother was an adept quilter and it was a passion of hers to sit for hours creating beautiful, colorful hand-pieced (rarely by sewing machine) quilt tops which she then put into her large wooden quilting frames and hand-quilted – never quilted by sewing machine.
No doubt my mother learned to quilt from my grandmother who also excelled in this art. Back then, quilting bees were held in which ladies from church or just a group of friends would gather at one home or another and spend an afternoon stitching designs on one quilt. I can actually remember as a young child attending some with my mother.
Stitches produced at these gatherings were variations on a theme because each woman used her needle, thread, and thimble a little differently. Perhaps those who didn’t quilt often used long, uneven stitches but the expert quilters like my mother made small, tight, uniform in length stitches to produce a beautiful end product.
“There are only a handful of basic stitches which are the Adams and Eves of all the others…stem, satin, chain, cross, back, weaving, and filling–upon which untold variations have been built.”
For this photo challenge, I could have opened my mother’s old cedar chest now gracing my own home and carefully lifted out not only a quilt made by my mom, but two very aged quilts made by my maternal grandmother and my husband’s paternal grandmother.
But I decided to save those for another blog post sometime. Instead I’m using other photos I’ve taken that I think personify the theme well.
The top photo is a picture I captured during a visit to the United States Air Force Museum a few years ago. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this branch of service, a huge commemorative quilt was made and hangs in the museum. Each quilt block represents a meaningful aspect of the Air Force but was fashioned by a different person with unique ideas. Hence, variations on a theme.
I snapped the other photo at a Mother-Daughter dinner once held at my church. Attendees were invited to bring some of their favorite quilts to display. And I think it all of those colorful, unique works of art aptly demonstrate variations on a theme as well.
I know I tend to stick to my ‘themes’ in life and share my themes often here in Mama’s Empty Nest, but I do attempt to spice it up with a little variety from time to time.
Variations on a theme make life more interesting.
“To me I think artists in general make a statement and for the rest of their lives every album, every book are variations on a theme.” ~ Mark Mothersbaugh
Silence isn’t always the norm here in Mama’s Empty Nest, not with an almost-three-year-old in the house most of the time. But occasionally, silence occurs, which was this past week’s photo challenge theme.
And it’s golden when I experience silence. Or maybe even blue.
One morning, our house was completely silent when I awakened. Papa had already left for his very early morning schedule at his part-time job, so I lingered for a few minutes more in my toasty, comfy bed.
Shortly after 7 a.m., I decided to throw off the covers and coerce my body into starting the day. After making the bed, – yes, I’m one of those people who always does so – I threw open the window blinds to survey the usual stark white landscape that is our yard in the winter time.
The sun was just beginning to rise over the hill and cast its shiny rays where it would soon cause the snow to glisten.
Darkness still enveloped a good portion of the sky though so our snowy landscape had a bluish hue to it causing me to slide my feet into my warm slippers, grab my camera, and step outside to capture the early morning view.
All was silent. Not even a car passed by in those few moments I stood outside. No noise. Not even a bird singing. Just my quiet footsteps on the porch and then the sound of my camera clicking. The scene before me was silence.
Sunshine hasn’t been very prevalent this winter, but I know it still exists. My yard isn’t vibrantly colored with green grass, but I know it will once again be so. Silence doesn’t always permeate my home, but I enjoy it when it happens.
Mother Teresa was once quoted as saying, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…we need silence to be able to touch souls.”
I thought of how many times I do encounter God when there is silence and viewing the sun as it arose on my horizon that frosty early morning made me thankful for yet another day of living. Even in silence.
“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I feel it not. I believe in God even when He’s silent.” ~ unknown