A diamond day

blogDSCN8714Something miraculous happened the other night while I slept.

Someone sprinkled diamonds across my lawn!!

I know it sounds crazy, but while I snoozed and slumbered, cozy and snuggled warmly under my own mama’s hand-made quilt, next to my husband, who also had blissfully entered dreamland, someone crept into Mama and Papa’s empty nest yard and spread a glittering array of diamonds!

Some may surmise it was Suzy Snowflake or even Jack Frost who left this amazing gift.  I suspect it was collaboration between the two of them – snow meeting frost.  But I know who the Mastermind behind this gift truly is.

Snowflakes flurried the other day spreading their white, cottony blanket over our surroundings.  Grass completely covered, trees flocked, but roadways remained open and passable.   As evening approached and the sun journeyed its way to the other side of the world, the temperature dropped and while it didn’t actually create ice, it became frosty and a little slippery outside.

Tired from our day’s work, hubby and I settled down for our rest, expecting to see yet another winter’s day in the morning.  Upon awakening, I checked the weather report (our ‘Local on the 8’s’ via The Weather Channel) to see what the day would bring.  Strong sunlight already streamed in our bedroom windows, forcing its way under the unopened blind slats to demonstrate its might.

The forecast called for no expected additional snowfall, and I quickly prepared to leave for work.  I backed my vehicle out of the garage and immediately the sun blinded my vision, so I donned by trusty sunglasses.   About halfway up our long driveway, I suddenly stopped my car.  Stunned.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I tore off the sunglasses and reached for my camera.

My yard sparkled.  My yard glistened.  My yard actually glittered! I felt as if this quote from an American motivational writer had literally come true – “You are, at this moment, standing right in the middle of your own ‘acres of diamonds.’” ~ Earl Nightingale

Diamonds!  My two and a quarter acre yard literally seemed effervescent.   Brilliant, intense sunlight beamed on the lustrous, frosted snow and created a dazzling effect.  I paused in my car and simply was astonished viewing the array laid out before my eyes.

I tried to capture this incredible sight with my point and shoot digital, but the photo I hoped to seize eluded me.  So my feeble attempt to describe this scene with words is the best I can accomplish.

Now before you question why I was so bedazzled by sunlight streaming on my snow-covered yard, let me explain that snow is no stranger to me.   I grew up here in the North where snow is an ever constant aspect of winter.

Simply put, winter equals snow in my point of view.   Deep, piled up forts of snow, dollops of snowy landscapes are normal in my neck of the woods.  Snow storms, snow squalls, whiteouts, flurries, what have you, I’ve seen lots of snow in my lifetime.

But two days ago in my book of Opportunity, snow stopped me in my tracks.   This frosted over snow reclining on my grass captured and imprisoned the sun’s luminous rays while creating gleaming gems seemingly deposited every inch or two across my yard.  It seemed like I could venture out into the vastness of white and pluck some radiant diamonds from the ground.

Either I have never viewed such a sight before, or in my hurry and haste, I have never taken notice.  Standing outside my car, aiming my camera at this magnificent miracle for the eyes to behold, the warmth of the sun kissed my face even while the cold wind whipped my hair into my eyes and stung, yet joy leapt in my heart.  Literally.

The words of an old John Denver song come to my mind as I write this.   “Some days are diamonds. Some days are stones. Sometimes the hard times won’t leave me alone. Sometimes the cold wind blows a chill in my soul. Some days are diamonds, some days are stone.”

Hard times befall every one of us humans.  Just this week, my heart wrenched at hearing of misfortunes and trials people I know are enduring.  They’re experiencing days that seem made of stone when the cold winter wind blows chill through their souls.

But our days don’t have to be stone days, even during the difficulties of this life on earth.  See the Mastermind, who granted me sight to see His gift strewn over my yard, promises us diamonds for stones.  He’s always there to care, to hold us up, to see us through, but we must stop, pause, acknowledge His presence, seek His help, and fully rely on Him.

Jesus, our gift more precious than diamonds, is the living stone spoken of in 1 Peter 2: 4-6.  “As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…For in Scripture it says:  ‘See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’”

Jesus takes my days filled with stones and turns them into diamond days.  So when I feel burdened, like I am weighed down with the heaviest boulder,  I want to choose joy remembering that Jesus promised me He would always be with me through every moment of life.  Just as He promises to be with you if you believe in Him.

“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” ~ Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:20, King James Version

The diamonds strewn across my front yard reminded me.

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Not so fast, Pooh!

Image origin unknown

Winnie the Pooh had it all wrong.

At least when it comes to rivers in late winter/early spring, that willy nilly silly ol’ bear didn’t know what he was talking about when he said, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

In his lovely little world, he never watched river water rushing swiftly downstream, creeping up its banks and swelling over its brim, in a frenzied hurry like there’s no tomorrow.

A flood watch has been issued for my neck of the woods.  The overabundance of rainy, sleety, snowy weather combined with the melted snow pack draining its way into the rivers and creeks is to blame.  With the ground saturated, streams of rushing water are showing up everywhere, even at the edge of our property behind our house.  (Don’t worry, we do not live in a flood plain and we live at the top of the hill not the bottom.)

My travels this week led me into my hometown every day and, you guessed it, a river runs through it.  As I drive through snowy, sleety, rainy weather along the street closest to our river, I glance warily at the rapid rate it’s traveling and how it hungrily laps at our waterfront park, climbing steadily up the steps of the amphitheater.  Its current is so swift I’ve seen white caps of water.  That river makes me a little nervous because you know the old question:  What runs but never gets tired?  A river.

So driving past our normally tranquil body of water that’s morphed into a wild wave water park, my mind instantly dials up a song, “Ol’ Man River” from the musical Show Boat.  And as I’m singing this tune, I suddenly realize who lurks behind this evil plot to change our serene, soothing river into this raging maniac.  Ol’ Man Winter, that’s who!

So with apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II, who wrote the lyrics to “Ol’ Man River,” here’s my version of the song placing the onus on the real culprit behind the river rising.

Ol’ man Winter,

Dat ol’ man Winter,

He jus’ keeps blowin’

And keeps on snowin’

He jus’ keeps rollin’

He keeps on rollin’ along.

Ol’ man Winter,

Dat ol’ man Winter

He mus’ know sumpin’

But don’t say nuthin’,

He jus’ keeps dumpin’

He keeps on dumpin’  along.

He don’t bring sunshine,

He don’t bring flowers,

His snow keeps droppin’

Til warmth’s forgotten,

But ol’ man Winter,

He jus’ keeps rollin’ along.

You an’ me, we shiver an’ freeze,

Body all achin’ an’ racked wid sneeze,

Tote dat bag o’ salt!

To your shovel make a switch!

Slide a little bit

An’ you land in a ditch!

Ah gits weary

An’ sick of tryin’

Ah’m tired of bleakness,

An’ I’m not lyin’,

But ol’ man Winter,

He jus’ keeps rollin’ along.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

This snow globe’s making me quirky!

pexels-photo-314829.jpegSometimes you just feel like you’re stuck in a snow globe of winter.   Same thing, every day.  Same scenery, same blanket of white covering all the color in your world.

After all the sameness, I’m ready for something unique and different on the ninth page of Chapter Two in my new book, Opportunity. [That’s February 9, 2011 for those of you who haven’t been following my blog since January 1.]

As far as days go, today proved to be a typical, average kind of day.  A work day – not very eventful – and a cold, wintry day as the outdoor thermometer hanging outside my kitchen window displayed a near zero mark – but that too is the usual kind of day for February. So as the old saying goes, I have “nothing new to write home to mother about.”

Life seems a little mundane this week, even as hubby and I deal with a few changes to which we must adjust.  But this same old “business as usual” routine forced me to wonder if anything exciting ever happened on this day.

I performed a tad of research and thought I’d share what I learned about some of the informative events that did in fact take place on this date –  February 9th – just in case you need a trivial treat for the day!

  • In 1775, English Parliament declared that the colony of Massachusetts was “in rebellion.”  Guess they found out that declaring your teenager is rebellious doesn’t really solve the problem, huh?
  • Alanson (wonder if he was Alan’s son?) Crane patented the fire extinguisher on this day in 1863.  Buildings everywhere thank you, Mr. Crane, seriously.
  • Nebraska became our 37th state today back in 1867.  We would have a hole in the middle of our country if we didn’t have the “Cornhusker” State or Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming and a tiny bit of Missouri would be horribly misshaped.
  • The U.S. Army established the U.S. National Weather Service on this date in 1870.  Having survived through numerous tornado warnings and watches myself, I’m grateful for that!  Keep up the good work, weather service people.
  • This one will astound you – the first shipment of asparagus arrived in San Francisco from Sacramento in 1891 on February 9.  Um, apparently the fine citizens of San Francisco were asparagus-less prior to that.  And apparently, even today asparagus must cost a fortune to ship because it is one of the pricier veggies at my supermarket.
  • You athletic types will enjoy the fact that volleyball was invented by W. G. Morgan in Massachusetts on February 9, 1895.  Thousands of volleyball teams, backyard and beach enthusiasts have Morgan to thank.
  • In 1922, snow fell on this date on Mauna Loa, Hawaii.   Seems to me, just lately, the same phenomena occurred.  Could there have been “global climate change” back then too?!
  • Teaching the theory of evolution was forbidden on this date in 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia schools.  Now teaching or even mentioning creation is forbidden in public schools all across our country.   Of course, some people call this progress.  I call it regression.
  • On this day in 1932, America entered an Olympic two-man bobsled competition for the first time.  “Hey mon…USA, we got a bob-sled team!”  (You’re only going to understand that reference if you’ve ever watched the 90’s movie, “Cool Runnings.”)
  • Prepare to be shocked by the following facts.  On February 9, 1933, the temperature recorded in Moran, Wyoming was  -63 degrees F, that’s 63 degrees below zero!  Can you believe that?? More “global climate change,” evidently!  Who knew?? And it continued because on the same day in 1934, New York City experienced its coldest day with minus 14 degrees F and a state record was set in Vanderbilt, Michigan with  a below zero temperature of -51 degrees F!   Of course, back then, no one was telling them that “our planet has a fever!”
  • “Look!  It’s a bird, it’s a plane….it’s Superman!”  Yep, on Feb. 9, 1953, the “Adventures of Superman” TV series premiered in syndication.  And I’m old enough to claim watching those episodes on TV in the late 50’s too.
  • When I was just a toddler way back in 1956, R. Lacoste followed Catroux as premier of Algeria.  I’ll admit I have never heard of either of them, but I wonder if Lacoste wore shirts with little alligators on them?
  • How many of you remember songs from the 50’s like I do?  In 1959, the Coasters’ hit song “Charlie Brown” peaked on the charts at #2 on this day.  He was a clown, that Charlie Brown, going around asking “Why’s everybody always picking on me?”
  • I know I’ve kicked the climate change thing around enough, but I just can’t resist telling you that on this day in 1963, New York City recorded its 7th largest snowfall in history – 16.7″ of the white stuff!  Sounds like a repeat of 2011, doesn’t it?
  • Two events of social and cultural noteworthiness occurred on Feb. 9, 1964.  The Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and some 73.7 million viewers tuned in to the TV program (I was one of them!) and swooning, teenage girls were never the same again after that.  Don’t worry, guys, you weren’t left out of the excitement because GI Joe, the epitome of American soldiers and first male doll action figure with guts was created on this day.  A real American hero!
  • And my final triviality will really blow your mind.  Back in 1992 on this day, Thomas School from Germany was named the fastest yodeler when he yodeled 22 different tones, 15 of them falsetto, in one second!   Hey, I can’t explain ‘em, I just report ‘em!

I’m not certain if my blog proves to be a bright spot in the snow globe where you live today,  but just writing it makes mine a little more upbeat and fun.   And quirky.   Which is just what I needed on this day in February, Chapter Two, Page 9, in my book called Opportunity.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Sorry folks, January = Winter

blogWinter Time 008According to my local newspaper today, people are already tired of winter.

Apparently some are even praying for it to end.

People, buck up!  We’ve only had one official month of winter.

December 21 heralds the beginning of the winter season and today is the 22nd page of Chapter One in my book of Opportunity.

That means there are still two months left of Ol’ Man Winter since spring doesn’t usher itself in officially until March.   And there are only nine days left in the wintry month of January, so soon I’ll be turning over a new chapter.

On this bitterly cold (brrr – our outside thermometer read minus 7 degrees this morning!) but brightly sunny day, I take the opportunity to be grateful for winter.   Most people might think I’m crazy, but I relish the snow.

I even like frosty temperatures.  Cold weather invigorates me and I love taking a walk in snowy weather so brisk it stings your face and makes your toes tingle.

I love coming back inside the house afterwards with rosy cheeks and after shedding layers of outer garments, burrowing down under a warm, wooly blanket to sip a steaming cup of tea and watch the snow silently descend across the countryside.  Call me strange, but that comforts me.

So here’s my tribute in photo and poetry to January.  Even though this month has brought some trouble and trials, it still gives me joy.

blogDSCN0534The snow fell gently all the night.  It made a blanket soft and white.  It covered houses, flowers and ground,  but did not make a single sound. ~ children’s poem by unknown

blogWinter Time 041January opens the box of the year

And brings out days that are bright and clear.

And brings out days that are cold and gray,

And shouts, “Come see what I brought today!” ~ “January” by Leland B. Jacobs

blogDSCN0557Black are my steps on silver sod;

Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;

And tree and house and hill and lake

Are frosted like a wedding cake. ~ excerpt from “Winter Time” by Robert Louis Stevenson

blogwinter time 045 (2)Suddenly the sky turned gray, the day,

Which had been bitter and chill,

Grew soft and still.

Quietly from some invisible blossoming tree

Millions of petals cool and white

Drifted and blew,

Lifted and flew,

Fell with the falling night. ~ “Snow Towards Evening” by Melville Cane

blog0538I choose to be thankful for this beautiful season of winter.  Why?  Because it is God’s creation.  David wrote in the Psalms about it – “The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.  It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”~Psalm 74:16-17

Genesis 8:22 ~ “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Put that acorn down!

blog072Picture two squirrels hunkered down for the winter in a hollow tree.

Frosty, snowy weather suppresses their desire to leave the warmth of the tree and cavort around their two-plus acres like they enjoy doing in the spring, summer and fall.

Add the extra problem of shorter daylight hours in the month of January.   Squirrels’ dilemma – what else is there to do when the tree (nest) is empty, the weather’s too blustery to be outside for long, and evening comes on early but feast on their cache of acorns?

I don’t understand why winter time morphs us into eating machines.  It’s not like I need to store up fat for my winter hibernation.  I’ve got enough of that substance in my body to last several winters!

Chalk it up to the cold, the dark, the dreary weather, boredom….I don’t know but hubby and I have been digging into the comfort food lately just like acorn-ravished squirrels stuffing themselves until their cheeks explode.

We’ve been noshing on the good old-fashioned “mom style” home cooking.  You know staples like hot turkey sandwiches drenched in gravy with mashed potatoes on the side, meat loaf, chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, and a hand-me-down dish from my grandmother’s day called “ham and patches” (basically ham, potatoes and yes, more dumplings!).

Not exactly diet food, but then again, neither of us made any New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, so there’s a thought – we aren’t breaking any promises!  Actually neither of us made any resolutions at all.  However, if we keep this nosh fest up, we’re going to have to start shaking our bushy tails pronto to shed some unwanted poundage.

I’d reason this tendency to eat like we just purchased stock in a roadside diner provides us enough calories to maintain body warmth since it’s so cold in our house, but what excuse do I use for the ice cream we’ve gone through??

Maybe I could just blame it on global climate change.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

You can’t flow when you’re frozen

pexels-photo-806655.jpegThere’s snow business like snow business.

Seems like snow is on everyone’s mind lately and in front of our eyes too as the white stuff is making an appearance from the Midwest to the South and back again in my neck of the woods.

Cold weather has been a staple here, as it usually is in the winter months and that lacy-looking precipitation has covered the ground for many weeks.  A little snow squall is working its way by my house even now as I write this.

My oldest daughter lives in the Deep South. Snowflakes dancing through the air aren’t the norm there, but much of the south is currently blanketed by the flurrying stuff.  Daughter was slightly amused Sunday night when she texted me that her employer was closing down for Monday because of a “wintry mix” settling in the area – her first “snow day” there!

After the snow arrived, she was even more amused as evidenced by this status update on her Facebook page: “Seen in my parking lot: one guy staring at his snow-covered truck like he has no clue what to do about it, and another guy using what appears to be a comb to scrape his windshield. Living in the south is so entertaining sometimes.”

Of course, here in the homeland, hubby and I also sometimes chuckle by the frenzy snow evokes in some people.  Even here, the masses get absolutely frantic by the threat of a snowstorm.

However, that is nothing compared to the frazzled state we witnessed while we lived in the Pacific Northwest.  Drivers there would actually abandon their vehicles on the berms of the highways and streets…when there was maybe an inch or two of snow covering the road.

Last winter, we had a big dig-out after feet of snow was dumped in our area.  And guess what?  We didn’t starve, nor did we run out of toilet paper.  Okay, it did take us an entire day to dig our way out of our driveway, but we were on the road again by the next day.

Snow truly isn’t the end of the world.   And it’s actually quite beautiful if you can calm yourself down long enough to enjoy it.

Today on my travels with my work, I passed an artesian well that was frozen over.  What an amazing ice sculpture it made.  If you’re unfamiliar with what an artesian well is, here is a good explanation from wisegeek.com: “An artesian well allows water that has traveled through porous rock from a higher elevation to rise to the surface. This pumpless well seems to defy gravity because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock gets relieved when the water finds a path to the open air. For nearly a thousand years, people have drilled wells to drink this cold, filtered water that doesn’t need to be hauled up from the depths.”

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home in my hurry to leave this morning, so I don’t have a photo to show how eye-catching this sight was.  It was actually much more intricate than the picture I posted with this entry.  But you will have to take my word for it.

Observing this striking sight made me think about artesian wells spouting water up into the air for all to see and enjoy.  Contemplating thoughts about water always reminds me of passages from the Bible.  And as usual, an old song, “Spring Up, Oh Well” comes to mind.

“I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowin’ out of me.” “Spring up, oh well, within my soul. Spring up, oh well, and make me whole. Spring up, oh well, and give to me that life abundantly.”

And it occurs to me on Page 11, Chapter One (January 11) in my new book entitled Opportunity that I can’t allow that well to spring up in me if I’m frozen over like that artesian well I saw today.  The river of life that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior can’t flow out of me if I am stagnant in my faith.

I need to seek after Him through prayer, reading and studying my guidebook (Bible)  and sharing what I learn with others.

“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 (New International Version)

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Snow Falls in the Country

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Welcome to my world!

I’m updating my blog, with a font named Tunga because it looks like “tundra”  and that’s where I’m living – in the frozen tundra!

blogWinter Time 048So I’m home today cleaning out kitchen cabinets because we are socked in with major snow & ice.  Winter finally arrived over here a few weeks ago.  We didn’t have any snow at all until January, but since then it hasn’t let up!

Yesterday we had a major snowstorm which turned into ice storm overnight.  What fun we had at our house this morning!! NOT!

Explanation #1:  First you need to know that our driveway is long – like about 150 feet – and goes UPHILL from the house.

When my husband got home from work yesterday evening, he got stuck coming DOWN the driveway.  Not a good sign!  So he got out the heavy-duty snow blower we have — it’s monstrous and sounds monstrous too!  He blew the driveway open as best he could, then shoveled his car out and finally drove it down.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter arrived home, a normally 45 minute drive home took over two hours, but she couldn’t pull into the driveway because her dad was snow blowing the top of it.

blogDSCN0533Explanation #2:  When the plow truck goes by on our road, it throws all the snow into the entrance of our drive, so by this time, it was shut with snow AGAIN.  So Dad tells Punky “just keep on driving!”  Um…where was she supposed to keep on driving to in the snow storm??

Add to all of this, we live in an extremely windy area, so the snow is blowing & drifting even though we have snow fences up along the drive to “prevent” that.  You get the picture…it was crazy.

So oldest daughter finally finds somewhere on our badly snow-covered road to turn around, drives back and manages to get her car down the drive and into the garage.  Whew!  Everyone is safe and sound in the house; dinner is finally eaten at 8:30 p.m. and then we watch the news to see that the snow’s turning to ice.  We will have more snow on top of that by morning.  YEE-HAWWW!  Welcome to our world!

Husband arose well before dawn this morning to yet again use the snow blower to clear the driveway. There’s something not-so-soothing to be awakened before the sun is up by a roaring snow blower! Oldest daughter also arose early to leave for work knowing the traffic and the roads would be horrible.   Then alas, she can’t get her cute little new red Mazda 3 (Zoom-Zoom) up the driveway.  Just sits there and spins on the crunchy icy snow.

She backs her car down; I stick my head out into the cold and yell “Want to drive my car today?”

Explanation #3: I am the only one with a all-wheel drive vehicle, my Subaru (or my Scooby-Doo as I call it), which is the only car that likes to just purr up the snowy, icy driveway.

So we trade cars, and as predicted, my Scooby-Doo just walks right up the drive and HOORAY, Punky-girl is on her way!  In the meantime, Dad, in his little Honda Civic, is STUCK!  And I do mean STUCK in the driveway at the bottom!  Can’t move forward, can’t move backward and his car is simply ENCASED in solid ice!

Explanation #4:  We only have a two-car garage, so somebody’s car has to sit outside! Lucky Dad!

So he shovels, he blows snow.  He drags out the rock salt.  Still stuck….I get bundled up,  go outside to see if I can be of any help.  Not really.  Then he remembers he owns tire chains (which he used when winter driving in the mountains in Oregon) somewhere in the garage.   He searches, finds them, puts them on…they fall off…he spins….he gets out…he tightens the chains…they fall off again…he finally gets them tightened well…he makes it out of the place he was stuck and pulls his car into the garage to thaw out, confident that he will now make it out of the driveway.

He comes inside, warms up, showers, makes phone calls to his appointments he’s missing – not to worry, no one is there at either place.  No doubt, they’re snowed in too!

So Husband goes to leave….guess what?? He gets stuck again part-way up the driveway, even with chains on!  More spinning, more shoveling, and finally he gets up the driveway.  HOORAY!

Mom now thinks today is a good day for staying at home and cleaning out kitchen cabinets!  In the meantime, it is still snowing and snowing and snowing and SNOWING!!!!  So I imagine we will repeat the scene above yet again tonight when Husband and Punky-girl come home from work.

Oh, the joys of living here in the winter time!  The snow is beautiful, of course, and where we live – out in the country – it’s just a gorgeous sight, really.  But having to drive in it or even just getting up your driveway is enough to make your blood pressure sky-rocket!

So for today, I’m glad to be at home, where I’m warm and dry and can just sit at my window and watch the snow pile up higher and higher, praying for safety for everyone who has to go out in this wintry weather.

Whew, that was a long story.  Think I’ll go make a hot cup of tea and get back to the cabinets.

Oh…and by the way….Happy Valentine’s Day!

©2007 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com