Words for Wednesday: oh, deer!

Home, home on rural land, where the deer and the antelope stand….okay, no antelope. Wrong part of the nation for that. But we do have a plethora of deer and an assortment of other wildlife that traverse through our property out here in the country.

Critters of all kinds use our 2.4 acre yard as a bi-way from one wooded area to another. Our “wildlife refuge” has included bear, wild turkeys, quail, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, rabbits, red fox, opossum, birds of all kinds, even a turtle, and of course, white-tailed deer. Lots of deer.

In just one year’s time, two have met their end via vehicle on the road in front of our house. When hit, those unlucky creatures flew through the air and landed dead on arrival in our yard. You haven’t lived until you walk to your mailbox and find a dead deer lying beside it.

Mostly, the deer run through our yard on their way elsewhere early in the morning or at night. Oh, we know they’ve stopped occasionally to chow down on our garden because we see their tracks all through it.  This summer, they found our strawberry plants way too delectable which is why Papa had to put a fence around it to keep them out.

Hardly ever though, do we actually see deer grazing in our yard especially in the middle of the afternoon. But last week, one brave, young doe decided to stop for snacks at our place.

After lunch, Papa left to finish some repairs at our daughter’s home, so I plunked myself down in our home office at the desktop to write a blog post.

After working busily and steadily, I needed a break so I ambled out to the kitchen to make myself a cup of hot tea. While filling the teakettle at the kitchen sink, I gazed out the window and spied her.

She was nibbling away at some bushes that produce some type of inedible-for-humans, red berries in our back yard. Just munching away and taking her good old time doing so. Unusual, especially for 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

I grabbed my camera and attempted a photo through a kitchen window because I didn’t want to scare her away. Taking a picture through not only glass but also a window screen did not satisfy me at all and the doe’s head was hidden by the bush as she plucked berries off there.

So I hurriedly stepped into some shoes (it was pretty cold outside), and slowly opened the French door leading to our backyard deck. She heard me, of course, but didn’t take off running. I was thoroughly surprised by that. Instead, she simply stopped eating and peered at me through the bush.

I stood stock still for a few seconds, and she commenced chowing down once more. I then quietly and slowly slipped out onto the deck and snapped a photo.

The click of my camera caused her to pause, then peek around the bush at me. I didn’t move. She didn’t move. We stood that way for a minute or so. But the lure of those berries, which must have been delicious, caused her to resume snacking.

Cautiously and ever so slowly, I moved towards the deck railing to try some closer shots. Again she heard the clicks and stared straight at me.  We engaged in a staring contest much like my kids used to do when they were young.

Who would blink first? Who would flinch first? Who would move first?

For a few seconds, we just watched each other. And then, in a soft quiet voice, I asked her “Are those berries good?” She never moved. She never flinched. She just kept watching me, curiosity causing her to stay.

I’ve never experienced that with a wild deer before. Why wasn’t she afraid of me? Usually, deer are so skittish, they dart away as soon as they spot a human. I’m not sure how long we both stood there keeping our eyes on one another.

Suddenly, the sound of a vehicle coming down our driveway broke our reverie.  Boom! Like a shot, she was off, dashing away as fast as her four spindly legs could carry her, back into the tree line that separates our property from the farmer’s field behind us.

I can’t help wondering what her fate will be. Will she meet her end from a vehicle or from the blast of a rifle or a piercing of an arrow during deer hunting season?

Whatever transpires, she gave me a pleasant, little gift that day. A moment of tranquility amidst the noise of the world’s craziness right now.

That little doe feasting on berries in my yard made me smile, provided a moment of delight, something I truly needed.

In this November month of Thanksgiving, I consider the blessings – yes, I will count them one by one – that God bestows on us even in circumstances that are trying and difficult. And I count that little doe visit as one of them.

It reminded me, as always, how grateful I am to live here in the country – in rural land, in what some folks call “fly over land.” I wouldn’t trade it for any other place because I can find happiness right in my own back yard.

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.” ~ Queen Latifah

©mamasmeptynest.wordpress.com 2020

Words for Wednesday: the pathway home

blogIMG_4416 (1)Home. It’s not only where the heart is but it is where many folks physically find themselves on Thanksgiving Day.

A lot is written about home – be it ever so humble, there’s no place like it. In our 40+ years of marriage, Papa and I have called a lot of places home.

Our family of origin homes where we grew up were in two different areas of our home state. His family home was in the city, mine was in the country. Our homes were over 200 miles apart, different in a lot of ways.

As newlyweds, our first home was a one-bedroom furnished apartment nearby an Army post in the southwestern United States. Eventually, we moved onto the post and lived in military housing in a comfortable three-bedroom duplex.

After Papa spent an unaccompanied year-long tour in a foreign land, we reunited and, with our first-born, called home some temporary housing until we were able to move once again into a three-bedroom house on the military post.

But we only lived there for one year. Papa separated from the Army and joined the ranks of sales with a national company. We weren’t sure where our new home would be located until after he went through his training.

Home became the very first house we purchased in the Midwest.  We moved in with one child and moved out with three children into a brand new house in a smaller suburb. But again our home didn’t stay our home for very long and before we knew it, we were whisked off to the Pacific Northwest. A new place to call home.

Twenty years ago, we made the decision to ‘come home’ – move back to our native state. It was a cross country move for us but one we’ve never regretted. It took us quite a bit of time as we searched for our new home here, but eventually we found a 2.25 acre plot of ground in the country to build a new home upon.

So this is home. This is the place we have lived the longest time during our marriage. This is the place our grown up offspring call ‘home’ even though they spent many of their growing up years in other states. They all have their own homes now, but I think they are like me – they still call their parents’ house home.

And home is where we all will be this Thanksgiving. This house that holds a ton of memories on this ground about three and a half miles away from the homestead where my parents lived and I grew up.

On this 14th day of my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, my heart is full of gratefulness for home. Not just for this house, but for this place, this area of this state where my heart has always been. And I give thanks that our family will gather around the table once again here at home.

Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home.” ~ Wilbur D. Nesbit

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A Thanksgiving photo essay

As we prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving Day, the day we set aside to express our gratefulness for all the blessings in our lives (and even the not-so-great things), may you be encouraged with my photo essay.  I set my photos to the ‘tune’ of an old hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

For the beauty of the earth,blogDSCN7166

for the glory of the skies,  blogIMG_3644

for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise. blogIMG_5075

For the beauty of each hour 
of the day and of the night, 
blogDSCN7830hill and vale, and tree and flower, 
blogIMG_1049(2)sun and moon, and stars of light; 
blogIMG_6298Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For the joy of ear and eye, 
for the heart and mind’s delight, 
for the mystic harmony, 
linking sense to sound and sight; 
blogIMG_2143Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For the joy of human love, 
brother, sister, parent, child, 
blogIMG_5667 (2)friends on earth and friends above, 
for all gentle thoughts and mild; 
blogIMG_6441 (2)Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For thy church, that evermore 
lifteth holy hands above, 
offering up on every shore 
her pure sacrifice of love; 
blogIMG_1885Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

For thyself, best Gift Divine, 
to the world so freely given, 
for that great, great love of thine, 
peace on earth, and joy in heaven: 
blogIMG_2220 (3)Lord of all, to thee we raise 
this our hymn of grateful praise. 

~ “For the Beauty of the Earth,” words written by Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: for musical reminders

blogthanksIt’s the last day of November and my 30 days of thanks giving have come to a close.  During this time, I’ve realized how very much of life I take for granted and my hope is that I will appreciate even the small aspects more as a result of contemplating gratitude for an entire month.

Christmas is coming and even though Thanksgiving is now past, thanks giving is not really over.  Not by a long shot.  I won’t blog every day about my gratefulness, but I’m certain I will continue to write about aspects I’m thankful for.  I do know I plan to take a few moments each day and express my thanks to my God since He is the Giver of my life and the One I turn to when circumstances aren’t exactly what I’d hoped.  He’s taught me so much through the passage of scripture that I call my guiding verses (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and I am so thankful.

As my attention turns to the upcoming Christmas season and preparation for our family celebration, I find myself thankful today for musical reminders.  I love Christmas music, I love the old Christmas movies, I love the decorations.  So it seems fitting on this last day of November before I transition from Thanksgiving to celebrating the birth of my Savior that I share a song from one of my favorite movies – Holiday Inn.  Bing Crosby sang it well when he sang “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For.”  

Click on the link below to listen to that song and join me in being thankful for the plenty in our lives.

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has plenty, not on your misfortune, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens

I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: for showering

blogIMG_4625Thanksgiving Day 2014 may have been relegated to our memory banks, but my 30 days of thanks giving continues until tomorrow – the last day in November.

I’m pretty worn out from all the celebration at our house but every minute was oh, so worth it.  We consumed a feast at our Thanksgiving table and all of us seated there made mention of the blessings for which we are grateful.

As soon as we cleaned up and cleared away the remnants of our gathering, oldest daughter and I switched into high gear and prepared for the baby shower we hosted for my expecting middle daughter.  In honor of the new baby girl that will join our family in February, we ‘painted’ the house pink!

Family and a few of daughter’s friends and mine all congregated at our house last evening for a “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” shower complete with hot chocolate bar and a wintry theme.  (More pictures later.) The weather even cooperated by providing snow-covered scenery around our house but thankfully, the roads were clear for travel.

Daughter and the new little life she carries were immensely showered by the outpouring of love and gifts.  And today, how can I be anything but grateful?

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: for this life

bloggraphicNovBlack Friday.  I’m going to come right out there and say I don’t do Black Friday.  Actually, this day when there is a frenzy to be the ultimate consumer and spend, spend, spend on supposed bargains bothers the heck out of me.

I do not shop on this day — I stay as far away as I can from the maddening crowd.  I think it brings out the worst in us humans – greed, rudeness, gluttony, overindulgence, call it whatever, and the fact that stores opened on Thanksgiving to accommodate this craziness and fill their own coffers with more money makes it even more offensive to me.

So, no, I am not thankful for Black Friday itself, but that verse that fuels my life,  that one that says be thankful in all circumstances prompts me to express gratitude on this day.  Yes today, Black Friday, a day that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Why?  Because the consumerism of Black Friday reminds me that I already have what I need in this life and so do the ones I might Christmas shop for.  It’s called life.  And we here in America have it abundantly. 

Please take a moment to be grateful for your life, no matter how difficult your circumstances may be, and watch the video below.  I think it puts it all into perspective.

“No matter how good or bad you think your life is.  Wake up each day and be thankful for life.  Someone somewhere else is fighting to survive.” ~ Unknown

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: for this day and you

It’s Thanksgiving Day — that day I’ve looked forward to this entire month of November.  A day set aside to reflect upon the many blessings we’ve been given and yes, even the difficult circumstances we endure and express how thankful we are for them.

For our family, our faith is what guides and sustains us and we will pause around the Thanksgiving table today with some but not all of our family to give thanks to the One who gives us life.

May you be blessed this day as you offer up your own thanks giving.  Please watch the following video and consider it my Thanksgiving greeting to you, my readers, for whom I am most grateful.

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”  ~Edward Sandford Martin

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: for family


My 30 days of thanks giving are winding down and the countdown to Christmas will begin soon.  If you’re a steady reader of Mama’s Empty Nest, you know that family means the world to me as I do write about my loved ones often.  

I consider myself ultimately blessed to have a close-knit, loving family – don’t get me wrong, we’re certainly not perfect and we have our squabbles but we love each other enough to work things out and forgive one another.  I realize many folks can’t say the same.  For those who struggle with family situations, my hope for you is that you find caring, supportive folks who will love you within the family of God.

Not all of our immediate family is able to venture home for Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. Many miles separate us but love binds us together and I pray it always stays that way as our family grows and increases.

I’m grateful for the loved ones who will be around our dining room table tomorrow, including one of son-in-law’s buddies who can’t be with his own family clear across the country.  And I’m so thankful all of my family will congregate to celebrate Christmas together before oldest daughter and son-in-law leave on their grand adventure to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  (They are top left in the photo above taken two years ago; middle daughter & son-in-law who are expecting our first grandchild are top right; son and daughter-in-law are bottom left, and of course, the two who started it all – Mama and Papa – are bottom right.)

And for now, I’m thankful for a house full of people I love and the opportunity, God willing, to all be together again for Christmas. 

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  ~ Desmond Tutu

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com