Wordless Wednesday: autumn bridge

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©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Heart to heart windows

blogIMG_1044Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could get a little glimpse of the future through a window?

Just for a moment in time maybe. Just to satisfy your curiosity. Or maybe prevent an event in your life or even prepare for an occurrence so it didn’t blindside you.

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” ~ Peter Drucker

Of course, there are no magic windows that we can peer out of or into showing us what the future holds.

Papa and I were just talking about this the other day. The day before we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, we were honored to attend a lovely marriage ceremony and reception. The handsome young groom is the son of one of my oldest and dearest friends, who happened to be my maid of honor in my own wedding.

There was much to celebrate, not just the wedding itself but the fact that my friend who experienced some life-threatening health issues this year was recovered from her scary ordeals and well enough to see her firstborn pledge his love and faithfulness to his beautiful bride.

The wedding took place in a town quite a distance from ours so as Papa and I were traveling along the highway, we had plenty of time to talk, reminisce, and reflect on our own big day those 40 years ago.

We witnessed the young couple’s marriage vows along with all the other families and friends in a small but picturesque old stone church. So much happiness blended in with heartfelt hugs and congratulations.

Later, as we meandered our way down country roads in this gorgeous, mountainous area of our state to the reception venue, I posed a question to my own beloved.

“When we were getting married 40 years ago,” I questioned him, “did you ever look down the road and think about where we would be in 40 years? What our life would be like?”

His reply didn’t surprise me. “Nope, never even gave it a thought.”

Me either, I confessed. And maybe that’s some of the problem with marriages. We get caught up in the excitement and romance of a relationship and the wedding itself  – the fairy tale with a happily ever after ending – without seriously considering the future and what it may bring – rough times right along with the good ones. 

Because that’s what we say to one another in those marriage vows. If you tie the knot in a church like Papa and I did, the minister performing the ceremony asks both the groom and bride if they will take the other to be your wife/husband to live together in holy matrimony.

When you answer those two little words – I do – you vow to love, comfort, honor, and keep the other in sickness and in health, forsaking all others to be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live.

You promise to take the person who stands beside you in front of all your family, friends, and God from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death you shall part.

It sounds so easy, but it’s not.

And most young couples probably do as Papa and I did – not stop to take a glimpse through a window of time to the days and years to come.

To those days when that elated feeling of being in romantic love begins to fade a bit.

To those days when trouble comes, as it surely does, and you have to purposely choose to love your mate, not just base your relationship on a fleeting feeling of infatuation.

To those days when you or your spouse lose jobs and you may not have all the wealth you hoped to accumulate.

To those days when you lose cherished family members and you struggle with grief.

To those days when you may be a little heavier, your hair is turning silver, or you’re losing it entirely.

To those days when one or both of you have health issues, or suffers from depression, or is incapacitated in some way.

To those days 10 years from the wedding date.

Or 25 years. Or 40.

Or 50 years from the day you said I do.

Or if God grants you long lives beyond the golden anniversary mark, when your spouse has become more than just your romantic love, but your treasured companion, your best friend, and your entire being is entwined with the one you have chosen to love for life.

Heart to heart. Soul to soul.

Looking through the window of marriage into the future to ensure a long-lasting relationship, until death do you part.

That is my wish for young wedded couples.

“There is a window from one heart to another heart.” ~ Rumi

This past week’s photo challenge theme was “windows.”

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The layered look

BlogIMG_1083(2)Fall’s arrived – my favorite season – and here in my neck of the woods, we tend to dress in layers during the months of autumn. 

Mornings start out crisp and cool with a little shiver in the air, but often by mid-day sunshine pushes that red vertical line up the outside thermometer. So we shed that outer jacket or sweater we put on first thing in the morning. And then by evening, we don it once again.

We peel off layers of clothing easily, but I wonder, how simple is it to shed the layers of who we are? You know, so that others see our true self instead of the persona we present to the world.  You may think you know me, but can you really see beneath my layers? How do you know I’m not just hiding underneath the layers that define me?

Every one of us human beings possess layers. And some of us really embrace the layered look so you don’t see that our lives are somewhat less than perfect.

I’m speaking for myself here and since this week’s photo challenge theme is layered, I thought I’d peel off some of my layered look publicly. Don’t worry, no nudity is involved here!

First off, I have many family layers. Who I am in respect to my familial relationships.  I am the daughter of my parents, granddaughter of my grandparents, sister to my siblings, sister-in-law to my and my husband’s siblings’ spouses, cousin, aunt to nieces and nephews and great-aunt as well.  I am a wife, mother, and now grandmother myself.

My layered look reveals that family is important to me too.

Social layers also exist when you look at me.  I am a friend, a confidante, an acquaintance. I’ve been a co-worker, volunteer, soccer mom, PTA member and president, and booster club member to name a few. Doing for others is one of my layers.

Schooling provided some more layers: elementary, middle, and high school student, high school graduate, college undergraduate, college graduate, on-line learner. Education and continuing to learn are also important layers.

In the world of work, my layers include having been a part-time sales clerk, summertime factory worker, English teacher, journalist/reporter/editor, technical editor, non-profit education director, and substitute teacher. I’ve been an employee, a team leader, and even a boss, and the most recent layer I’ve added is being a semi-retired person. Those layers tell you a lot about me.

Peel back a few more layers:  church goer, church member, Sunday School teacher, youth group leader, small group Bible study leader, church board member, deacon. You may think you know everything about me now.

Yet there are still more layers – amateur photographer, writer, blogger, social media user, online group co-leader, library user, real and e-book reader. The list might go on and on.

But when you peel back all of those layers, who am I really?  You may think I’m being very transparent, yet more layers exist that I haven’t shared. At my core, what is my identity?

I find my identity in being a Christ follower, a believer, a Christian not just by title but by faith.

My guidebook for life, the Bible, tells me I am God’s handiwork:  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

When I placed my identity in Christ alone, another layer was added. I’m a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

But what really astounds me is this. God loves me perfectly, unconditionally. He doesn’t love me because of my layered look, because of the layers I demonstrate for others to see.

His love isn’t based on my being perfect. It’s based on nothing but Himself. Who He is. The God of the universe who sent His only Son to die for my sin, in my place.

Perfect love.  Without any layers.

“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” ~ Carl Sandburg

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

While you wait

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Waiting for the sheets to dry

From the doctor’s office to sitting in traffic, we’ve all done our fair share of it. Waiting, that is. Depending on your level of patience, waiting can either be just a little blip in the road or a major interruption.

Waiting just happens to be the theme for this week’s photo challenge and I’ve found that I just don’t have the time right now to wait for an idea of inspiration to come to me nor do I have a few spare moments to think about a photo to accompany my words.

So, to keep you, my readers, from waiting any longer, I’m recycling a photo (above) and a post I wrote seven years ago not long after I began my blogging journey here on Word Press. Way back then, I shared my thoughts about waiting and you can read them by clicking here.

“You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.”~ Craig Bruce

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com