‘Tis a gift to be simple

blogDSCN8052When I was a kid, Sundays were special in a simple way.

Sunday was a day of worship first, then rest, with maybe a smattering of visiting friends and relatives on the side.

Businesses were closed except for a few restaurants where you could enjoy Sunday dinner.  If you needed milk, you better have run to the store Saturday because you wouldn’t be able to purchase groceries on Sunday.

My family always attended church Sunday mornings and commenced the day by worshiping God, the Creator of our days.  After church, my mother either cooked a big dinner, or if it was just Mom, Dad and me, we’d venture to a restaurant for our Sunday meal.

If we stayed home that afternoon, often times my mother would take a well-needed nap and my dad might watch a little television or listen to the baseball game on the radio.  I usually curled up somewhere cozy with a book to read.  It truly was a day of rest in preparation for the week of busyness to come.

Often times after lunch, visitors would stop by our house.  Sometimes they were relatives, sometimes friends and –gasp! –the adults would just sit around the living room talking to one another.  The television stayed turned off; there were no electronic gadgets to distract from the conversation.  They talked.  They shared memories.  They caught up with one another’s  lives and activities.  They remembered and shared funny stories or sad ones.  And they truly enjoyed each other’s company.

If we didn’t go visiting, Dad might take us for a Sunday afternoon drive.  We would ramble here and there taking in sights, enjoying the sunshine, the fall leaves, the snow glistening on the trees, whatever scenery unfolded in front of us.  Our car wasn’t equipped with CD or DVD players, no one had an ipod attached to their ears or a cell phone demanding answers to texts and calls.  We either listened to soothing music on the radio, we talked, or we just rode in silence absorbed in our own thoughts.

Often we stopped by someone’s house for a Sunday afternoon visit.  The same thing that happened at our house occurred at our friends’ or relatives’ homes as well – the adults chatted the afternoon away while the children played or joined in the conversation.

From all those simple Sundays, I learned many things.  I learned that worshiping God came first.  I learned that it’s important to spend uninterrupted time with loved ones.  I learned that children can acquire a lot of knowledge from their elders.  I learned to savor quiet time and rest one day a week.  And I learned to be patient.

I miss those days.  My husband and I were just discussing this recently.  We grow weary during the week and we look forward to simple Sundays.  Neither of us works in a profession that requires us to work on that day, so we can do whatever we like.

For us, Sunday morning worship comes first.  Then we may rest here in the empty nest.  Hubby reads the paper, watches a football game on television, or reads.  You can usually find me lounging in my easy chair reading or working a crossword puzzle.  Occasionally, we might go for a drive in the surrounding countryside.

This past Sunday we did just that.   After church, we ate lunch at a local restaurant followed by a leisurely Sunday drive to a nearby community where some Amish folks live.  The day proved lovely with warm sunshine, colors of fall leaves greeting us, and not just a change of scenery, but a change of pace.  As we drove along, Amish buggies pulled by trotting horses shared the road with us.

Observing them reminded me of their simple lifestyle and what their Sundays must be like.  For the Amish, the Sabbath is a day to worship  God and rest, and no doubt, visit friends and neighbors afterwards.

blogDSCN8053I imagine those buggies full of families tucked inside were on their way to either church or social gatherings. 

We noticed children playing in the cornfields while I suspect their elders enjoyed conversations or some well-deserved rest inside their farmhouses.

In that respect I envy them.

It makes me sad that no one stops by our house for a Sunday visit.  I suspect if we dropped in at friends’ places, they wouldn’t be home because we all seem to scurry about shopping or finding somewhere to run on Sundays.  Plus in today’s world, we may feel as if we’re imposing by stopping at someone’s house uninvited or unannounced.

We find it disheartening that the only Sunday visits we seem to have are the chats with people we run into during a quick trip to the grocery store or Wal-Mart.  Visiting in the store aisle just isn’t the same as those warm conversations in a homey, comfortable living room.

I’m sorry to say that the only time we have a bountiful home-cooked Sunday dinner is when our birds come home to roost for a day or so.  But distractions worm their way into our Sunday afternoons with the family.  Televisions blare, cell phones beep with text messages or blasting ring tones, laptops fire up and are constant companions (I’m just as guilty as my kids on that one!), or people dash in and out with places to go and things to do.  We don’t just sit and enjoy one another’s  company.  It seems Sundays aren’t either simple or special any more.

I’m pondering this question on Page 25, Chapter 10, of my book called Opportunity:  what would happen if we just simply visited with each other one day a week – on Sundays?  What would we miss?  We might miss the Steelers football game.   Or the latest status update on Facebook.  Or downloading that favorite song.  Or a text message from someone who wants to run to the shopping mall.  Or spending the afternoon gathering groceries.  But those things could wait.

What would we gain? Time spent together, truly conversing, sharing our stories and our lives with one another.  And that would be priceless.

“A world without a Sunday would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden.  It is the joyous day of the whole week.” ~Henry Ward Beecher

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Why Mama’s been mum

pexels-photo-247394.jpegWell, not only has mum been the word lately at Mama’s Empty Nest, but Mum has been fairly mum herself as well.

Definition of mum:  (adj) silent, not saying a word.   The origin of the word possibly came from “mmm,” the humming sound we humans make with our mouths closed, which indicates either unwillingness or an inability to speak.

Shakespeare used the word in Henry VI when he wrote:   “Seal up your lips and give no words but mum.”

In other words, keep quiet, say nothing, shut your trap.  The saying “mum’s the word” worked its way into our language as a means to advise another person to not reveal what he knows about something, to keep a secret, or stay quiet on the subject.

If you regularly follow my blog, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been awfully mum in the last week or so.  Throwing in some synonyms for the word  – mute, speechless, uncommunicative, wordless – adequately describes me right now.  And I know it!

I can’t admit that I’ve been quiet because I know something I shouldn’t reveal because that’s not it.  I don’t know a secret about anything!  So I honestly have no clue why I’ve been so uncommunicative (which is very unlike me anyway).

Should I blame my wordless state on busy-ness?  No,  I cannot.  No more busy days than usual.  Oh, there has been a little wedding planning, some strawberry picking and freezer jam making sessions, a bit of cleaning and household chores here and there in between my hours at my job, but nothing that demands my full attention.

Even my computer sits idle.  I check my email occasionally and then shut off the distraction.   Logging in to Facebook has become a rarity because I see those words asking me to declare what’s on my mind, and I’ve got…nothing, no status updates, nothing interesting to say.

If I do fire up my laptop, I sit and stare at the blank screen and I am…. speechless.  Wordless.  I feel like I have nothing to impart, even though my notebook of blog ideas paints  an entirely different picture.  I just don’t feel like saying it or writing it or even thinking about the ideas long enough to put a sentence together.

It’s like I have a disorder – a non-communication complaint, summer speechlessness, or author’s apathy.  I can’t decide whether it’s just writer’s block or summer’s siren song of idleness.

In my younger days, I could be quite the talker, making chit-chat and small talk to fill any awkward silences.  But as I’ve aged, I’ve become more of a listener than a talker.  And honestly, sometimes I really have nothing to say.  Absolutely nothing.

This speechless state has woven its way, spreading like runners of ivy, into my writing.  I don’t want to bore my readers with just any old words.  I won’t publish a blog merely for the sake of publishing every day….or two…or 12.  If I have something worth writing, it also needs to be something worth reading.  And alas, I feel no compulsion to write.   And so I’ve been mum.

I hope I haven’t been disappointing, but I fear I may have been just that for those of you who log into this blog each day expecting some new post from me.   Bear with me, my faithful readers, I’ll get my words back.

For now, on this 21st page in Chapter 6 of Opportunity, my deck and the coolness of the evening after a warm summer day are calling out enticing me. 

My softly cushioned patio chair whispers, “Come hither.  Come rest and bask in the quietness of a country evening.  Inhale the scent of freshly mowed grass and savory strawberries, plucked from the garden.  Listen to the birds warbling their sing-song melodies.  Feel the gentle breeze as it ruffles your hair.  Gaze westward and witness another spectacular sunset.   Evenings like this won’t last for long.  Maybe tomorrow you will find your words.”

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Just what the doctor ordered

medical-appointment-doctor-healthcare-40568.jpeg“Middle age is when you’re sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn’t for you.”  ~Ogden Nash

This middle aged empty nest Mama has endured a busy week and next week will be just as hectic. 

So I’ve been looking forward to a restful and relaxing weekend and a short visit from my dear ones.

Come Sunday evening, the empty nest will be 4/5 full as son is stopping by on his way back to his abode in the state next door (on the east side of us) from his college friend’s wedding in the state next door (on the west side of us). 

If you managed to follow that, you’ll understand he needs a stopover with tasty food and a warm bed and what better place than his Mama’s (and Papa’s) empty nest?  Middle daughter is driving up from the city also to visit with her brother.

But before they arrive, this weary worker who wrought a week of wandering here and there, wrangling bins of promotional materials and goodies for giveaway, and warbling words of wisdom to wards of young whippersnappers is planning on some R and R (rest and relaxation).  That’s why I found this email I received from one of my friends entertaining and cute.

Knowing I’m in the middle of my busy season at my non-profit employer, my dear friend  created the perfect “prescription” for me and my weekend.  Please read “Dr. K’s” orders below:

“Dr. (not) K prescribes a:

Weekend of total rest and recoup.  Tomorrow sleep in until 9:30.  Have hot tea with sweeteners,  sweeteners being 4 cookies.

Then one long long shower or soaking bath, donning a pair of sweats afterwards.

Mosey over to the TV and watch nice happy movies for the whole day, stopping for grilled cheese for lunch and more tea and cookies for supper, to be followed by another hot bath/shower and a nice happy book for bedtime.

Repeat on Sunday, except for going to church.

Note here:  If you stay home on Sunday also,  the world won’t end, and you and God could have a wonderful long talk with a little communion on the side.”

I’m happy to report that in Chapter 4, Page 16 of my book of Opportunity, I am following my friend’s orders explicitly.  When I awoke at 6ish this morning, I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep.  And did I sleep in?  Did I ever!

For breakfast I drank my prescribed hot tea and included the sweeteners.  After a long hot shower, my body is relaxing in comfy clothes – sweatshirt and my crazy pajama pants with moons and stars.  (Praying for no unexpected visitors!)

I’ve already viewed one sappy, happy TV movie and plan to watch a few more from my spot on the couch, probably with calico kitty curled up in my lap.  It’s another dreary, rainy day here in the country so the allure of a good book to read is already enticing me.  And tomorrow, after church, I will follow the good “doctor’s” orders once again, at least until my grown up children arrive.

‘Dr. K’ sure knows how to write prescriptions, doesn’t she?  She definitely knows the prescription for being a wonderful friend.

P.S. You can check out her blog here: homesteadramblings.wordpress.com

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com