Wordless Wednesday: covered bridge

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©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Life’s twists

blogIMG_0765.jpgHave you ever heard or seen something that just goes beyond what you call normal? Often times, we shake our heads and say, “Man, that’s twisted.”

This week’s photo challenge theme is exactly that – twisted.

I really haven’t had time to grab my camera and go out to capture a shot that would fit the challenge, so I resorted to my photo files. As I searched for a picture, the image of twisted that sprung forth in my mind was of tornadoes – sometimes called twisters.

I do have a bit of experience with twisters and have witnessed firsthand the devastation they cause. But I’ve never had an opportunity to capture one with my camera. And you know what? For that I’m grateful. I’d rather be safely ensconced in an inside walk-in closet than be sticking my camera out at a funnel-shaped onslaught of destruction.

In their wake, tornadoes leave a lot of twisted debris. The force of a twister is unreal, bending metal, stripping trees bare of their bark, picking up and smashing houses to smithereens.  As I was considering that, a photo I’d taken last summer came to my mind. (The photo above)

On a day trip, we ventured northward and visited Kinzua Bridge State Park located in the Kinzua Gorge. Years ago a tornado slammed into a railroad viaduct there, which was once the longest and highest such structure in the world, and destroyed a good portion of it. Its twisted metal skeleton still remains several feet below the surviving towers of the structure which have been turned into a sky walk.

But twisted things aren’t always the result of something horrific. Sometimes twisted items are things of beauty like this exquisite and huge glass sculpture fashioned by artist Dale Chihuly. One long winter season a few years ago, Papa and I visited our nearby city conservatory and botanical garden just to get a glimpse of color and this sculpture hung in the entrance hall of the conservatory.

blogDSCN0573 (2).jpgSo when it comes to twisted things, it’s all in your perspective, isn’t it? Just like life. Are you going to go through these days on earth you’ve been given with a negative attitude every time life doesn’t turn out quite like you planned (that could be really twisted) or will you embrace each day of life with an upbeat spin no matter what happens?

It may take some tweaking here and there, but I’m choosing to twist my attitude. Go for the optimistic. Be encouraging not critical. It’s up to me to decide which way I turn. And on that note, maybe I’ll just go fire up some oldies tunes and if I’m lucky, I’ll hear Chubby Checker singing “C’mon baby, let’s do the twist.”

You’re never too old to twist and see where it takes you.

“Life has many twists and turns and sometimes what looks like a very bad day can just be clearing the way for good things to come.” ~ J. Kim Wright

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A liquid magnet

blogIMG_0158.jpgIt always seems to attract my attention.

I find myself mesmerized when I catch glimpses of it.  Nine times out of 10, I’ll raise my camera to my eye, focus, and shoot, capturing and storing photos of it in my computer cache.

It’s simple but it’s complex. It can be practically still or it can be rushing.  It can be swirling or it can be gushing.  It’s life-giving but can be life-taking. 

It’s liquid and it’s water.

This week’s photo challenge theme – liquid – causes me to ponder about my favorite liquid and why it draws me like a magnet.

When I think of liquids, I immediately think of water. Not coffee, not even tea, which I do love.  Not the liquid elements mercury or bromine. Not even milk or juice. Like the song lyric from long ago, cool, clear water somehow refreshes not only my thirst but my soul.

I’m not sure why that liquid, whether it be a river, a lake, an ocean, a stream, or a waterfall, fascinates me because I’m not one of those people who are passionate about swimming or actually being in the water. 

Really deep water scares the dickens out of me, which is why Papa hasn’t been able to convince me to book a several day ocean cruise. We did board a whale watching cruise in the Pacific Ocean once, but that was just for a couple of hours.

So I’m just one of those folks who enjoys being near the water.

I’ll sit on a park bench riverside watching water flow steadily southward. I’ll bask on the sand with my eyes closed just listening to the ebb and flow of ocean waves at the beach. I’ll perch on a rock in a cool copse of woods and enjoy the babbling of a brook.

I’ll stare with wonder at a glistening waterfall cascading down a mountainside. I’ll board a water-going vessel for a sight-seeing trip. I’ll park myself comfortably on my front porch watching liquid drops of water in the form of rain descend from the clouds.

And when it comes to liquid refreshment, my first choice is always a glassful of water – cool, clear water.

I’m reminded that our human bodies are comprised of a large percentage of water – somewhere between 55-65%. We need water to sustain life because it’s absolutely essential. Without it, we can’t survive for very long because it’s vital for just about every aspect of our bodies.

So that explains why water is my beverage of choice. It’s simple biology. It’s what my body longs for.

But what is the reason I’m drawn to bodies of water like a moth to a flame? It’s not just for quenching my thirst because I surely can’t drink salty ocean water.

No, there must be some other reason why water acts like a magnet for me and my camera.

And I believe it’s because my soul longs to be near, in connection to, and in constant communication with my Savior Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~ John 4:13-14

I’ve often gone through periods of time in my faith when I felt like I was in the arid desert. That’s when reading God’s Word and lifting up my parched soul in prayer quenches the thirst within me.

And perhaps that’s why water calls to me. It reminds me where my river of life is found – in Christ. It reminds other believers in Jesus of that as well. I recall visiting a non-denominational church whose name was simply Liquid.

Its founders obviously intended for people thirsting for something to fill their empty parched hearts to find liquid refreshment for the soul through the saving grace of Jesus.

I just hope that living water, that life-giving liquid which has been poured into me, flows back out from me and descends on others who need their thirst for a Savior satisfied.

“I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors, let’s the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. Spring up, o well, within my soul. Spring up, o well, and make me whole. Spring up, o well, and give to me that life abundantly.” ~ L. Casebolt

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Drawing the line

blogIMG_2718.jpgI’m one of those people who do it. Read between the lines. Sometimes I may be off in my assessment by doing so, but often I’m right on the mark.

But you know what? I’d rather you just give it to me straight so I don’t have to analyze what you’ve said or even attempt to read between the lines.

Be upfront. Honest. To use an old 60’s motto, tell it like it is.

Because if you’re not straightforward, your lines often are just that – lines.

And when I can’t believe what you say, I’d rather not even try.

When I was a child, we often chanted an old saying, “Liar, liar, pants on fire. Nose as long as a telephone wire.”

I guess we were referencing Pinocchio whose nose kept growing longer and longer every time he told a lie. So if your nose was as long as a telephone wire, wow, did you ever tell a whopper!

Lying is one thing I really can’t tolerate. Lying breaks any assemblance of trust you may have had in another person and shreds it to nothing. It leaves a devastating sense of betrayal in its wake.

I think back a few years to witnessing someone tell bold face lies without any regrets or remorse. How can anyone with a conscience at all do that? It boggles my mind.

And that’s when I chose to draw my own lines – lines in the sand, so to speak – because those lines of deception infuriated me and it took every ounce of self-control I had not to retaliate.  I haven’t nor will I cross over the line with a person who practices such duplicity. 

I won’t treat the deceiver badly because I know as a believer in Christ, I’m to live my life exhibiting the fruit of the spirit. If you’re not familiar with these ‘fruits,’ you can find them in The Bible in the book of Galatians, Chapter 5, verses 22-23. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I can show all of those gracious attributes to the one who feeds my loved ones or me lines of deceit by not reacting in anger or revenge, but in order to protect myself from losing self-control, I also must  draw the line.

Cut off communication. Go my own way. Discontinue having conversations with the person who chooses to deceive and spew lies.

It’s called setting boundaries. Dividing lines. Creating space between two people where there really needs to be space.

As a believer, I know I must practice self-control and that’s why I draw that imaginary line in the sand between myself and someone who causes distress to someone I care about or me. That line, that boundary, protects us from the one who has no self-control but attempts to manipulate others and distort the truth.

It doesn’t mean I can’t forgive the transgression. But I don’t have to continue a relationship with that person.

Drawing that line and setting a healthy and godly boundary demonstrates that I’m not giving the offending person the opportunity to besiege me with more ill treatment.  It’s not wrong to set boundaries with someone who causes harm and destruction when reconciliation isn’t possible.

The poet Robert Frost once wrote: “The middle of the road is where the white line is – and that’s the worst place to drive.”

I find that to be true. I don’t enjoy drawing the line but I’ve found it necessary to determine where I stand.  Choosing the middle of the road won’t prevent the one who spreads deceit and hurtfulness from continuing to damage relationships.  I don’t have to read between the lines to see that.

“Sometimes you have to, as I say, build bridges where you can – but draw lines where you must.” ~ Fred Thompson

This week’s photo challenge theme was lines

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com