Words for Wednesday: summer farewell

blogIMG_8304The summer season’s fading fast, not quite relegated to the past but coming so very close. Officially, summer doesn’t end until September 23 but signs of its demise are in full view. 

Those vivid, colorful flowers on the front porch have just about reached their limit. Here and there, a bright red/orange leaf is peeking out amidst the green ones on our trees. The nights are cooler and darkness descends its inky curtain sooner each night.

And with summer’s ending, my posts about our summer vacation are also coming to a finale.

So it seems fitting to end my series with this photo I shot on the Atlantic Ocean in Bethany Beach, Delaware. This path led to the beach, a favorite spot to relax and unwind on a summer’s day.

But as we herald a new season, there will be many more paths to take. Hopefully, Papa and I will travel a few more times this fall and possibly even during winter. 

Each path takes us to someplace special, to new memories to make, different sights to see. And for each one, we are truly grateful as we enjoy this empty nest semi-retirement gig.   

“Life takes you down many paths but my favorite ones lead to the beach.” ~ Unknown

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

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Words for Wednesday: send the light

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Hooper Straight Lighthouse

I love lighthouses. And I love photographing them as well. Eventually, I plan to post a lighthouse photograph series from my cache of pictures. But not today. Today, my thoughts about lighthouses are elsewhere.

Because I’m enamored by these structures, on our trips to the sea, whether it be ocean, lake, or bay, we try to catch sight of or visit any nearby. On our Chesapeake Bay trip to Maryland, we visited a few and I managed some photographs of them.

The Hooper Strait lighthouse in Saint Michaels was different from others as it was a screw-pile like the Seven Foot Knoll one we’d seen in Baltimore. Screw-pile lighthouses stood on piles (legs) which were screwed into the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.  

Once plentiful, there are only a few of these surviving. This particular one was moved from the bay onto land at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in order to preserve it and it was open to go inside and take a look around. 

I always marvel at the life that was led by the lighthouse keepers, a lonely life indeed.  I imagine it would be difficult living in such small quarters in solitude, especially if you were stationed at one of the screw-pile lighthouses out in a bay of water with access to land only by boat.

And I wonder if at times, the keepers felt forgotten. A sense of feeling lost even though their jobs were to ensure that sailors didn’t get lost at sea, to guide boats and ships safely to shore, to give those navigating the vessel a landmark for guidance, to shine that light through darkness and stormy weather.

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Lighthouse beacon

Those lighthouse keepers sent the light outwards. To protect and serve others. To provide guidance and safety.  To save. 

In a way, those of us who are believers in Christ are like lighthouse keepers, or at least, we should be.

There’s a light inside of us – the light of God – belief in a Savior. Just like the little old Sunday School song says, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”

That light is not intended to just be kept for ourselves; instead we must shine it everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. Why? To rescue the lost, to help souls come to saving grace and belief in Jesus.

An old hymn, Send the Light, rings through my mind and says exactly what I’ve been thinking.

There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain:
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, and let its radiant beams
Light the world forevermore!  

~ Charles H. Gabriel, pub.1888

As I viewed the huge beacon in the Hooper Strait Lighthouse tower, I thought about that. Do I send the light? Do I shine with Christ-likeness? And do the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ do the same?

We’re human. We often fail in our actions and words because we don’t pray for the ability, willingness, and desire to shine our lights.

But now more than ever, in this seemingly dark world of hatred and vitriol, we need to not only send the light, but share the light. May it be so.

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” ~Dwight L. Moody

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Words for Wednesday: I spy osprey

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Often when we’re traveling with our oldest grandchild by automobile, she and I play a game of I Spy. “I spy with my little eye…” one of us says followed by some kind of clue like “…something red.”  Then a guessing round begins. She’s become quite good at this game and it’s a good lesson for this Nana too.

While traveling, I do try to spy with my little eye. I keep on the watch for unusual things in view or catch a glimpse at sightings that make for a good photo op with my camera. 

Our Maryland trip was no exception. I spied many interesting aspects with my own two eyes.

While on-board two different cruises in the Chesapeake Bay, I captured a few shots of ospreys, often called sea hawks.   The photo above was taken in the Baltimore harbor on an overcast day after a deluge of rain, which gave the water a gray cast and made the birds hard to see. 

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It’s quite a contrast from this picture I captured while on an Annapolis harbor cruise on a beautiful, sunny day. If you look closely to the right of the green and white marker, you will spy an osprey sitting in its nest.

I was amazed at where the osprey built their nests out in the middle of the water. So far away from humans, that’s for sure. Can you blame them?

But they still must leave their nests to gather up some grub as they soar into the air on wings and swoop down to the water to nab a fish for dinner.

Do you suppose birds are thankful for their wings? I surely am when I step out of my comfort zone and spread my ‘wings’ by traveling to places I’ve not visited before.

“A bird in a nest is secure, but that is not why God gave it wings.” ~ Matshona Dhliwayo

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Words for Wednesday: amber waves

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I captured this shot while strolling around Fort McHenry, a historical and national monument park in the Baltimore, Maryland area. 

It never ceases to amaze me how one single picture when given close attention sends me off in words of inspiration just as this one did.

Steeped in history that morning while touring the old fort, this sight made me remember the words to the patriotic song, America the Beautiful:

O beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

We Americans live in a beautiful country from sea to shining sea. But in recent years, there have been aspects of our country that have been anything but beautiful.

It seems as if we are tearing our beautiful land and what it stands for down with hateful rhetoric, with divisiveness and angry vitriol. Why are we so angry with those who don’t agree with our way of thinking? What happened to that sense of American brotherhood we once had?

My prayer is that we can just agree to disagree and move forward united in gratefulness for this beautiful country of ours.

“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” ~  Henry Miller

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Words for Wednesday: forcynthia

blogIMG_7647You read that title correctly. No, I did not make a typographical error there. I didn’t misspell the word forsythia, I truly meant to post forcynthia.

What in the world? you may ask.  As she nears that ripe age of 65 is she starting to lose her faculties? Or is it simply that the appearance of sunshine and spring-like weather addled her brain? Is she giddy with spring-time bliss?

To answer those questions: No, I don’t think I’m losing my almost-65-year-old mind. No, my brain isn’t addled…at least not yet. And maybe, yes, I could be giddy with spring-time bliss.

But the most accurate answer is there is a story behind the title of today’s post and I am going to share it with you.

In our yard there is one forsythia bush. It has been planted in the same spot for several years now – almost 10 this summer – and this is the year it has bloomed its best. The bush exists for one specific reason; it was a gift to me because of a childhood story I once shared with a friend.

I’ve always loved seeing forsythia bushes blooming their golden yellow, delicate, skinny petaled flowers clustered on tall spires in spring. Forsythia are so cheerful to view, even if some folks consider them invasive as they can grow quite large and can take over an area of landscaping.

But to me, they are special and I’m going to tell you why.

Unless you know me personally, you do not know that my given name is actually Cynthia. It’s right there, written on my birth certificate although the only person to call me by that name was my mother – when she was angry with me.

I’m more known for the nickname associated with Cynthia – Cindy.  But my birth name is Cynthia, a name derived from Greek, another name for Artemis, the mythological goddess of the moon. But even from my earliest memory, I knew my ‘real’ name was Cynthia and that I certainly was not a goddess.

As a youngster, every time I heard my parents discussing those bushes that appeared in spring with their bright sunshine-color blooms as forsythia, I honestly thought they were saying “for Cynthia.” So at some point in my childhood, I claimed those plants as my own. And when they bloomed, they were for me – for Cynthia.

I related this silly, little story once to a friend and it made her chuckle. But she remembered my tale. Not quite 10 years ago, my father passed away. The loss was difficult for me as he was the last remaining parent either my husband or I had. Losing Dad came right on the cusp of empty nest hood too, so my emotions were kind of a mess.

Imagine the joy it brought me when the friend gave me a gift to express her condolences at my father’s passing. The gift was a small forsythia bush which she spent a good deal of time searching for.

blogIMG_7640A gift to bless my heart. This Cynthia. This Cynthia who loves forsythia. This Cynthia who still thinks of this particular spring bloom as exclusively mine – my forcynthia.

And my forcynthia still blesses me each time I look at it, but especially in spring time. And that joy of remembering my parents, remembering that little girl who loved her parents so dearly and also her forcynthia stays with me.

Sometimes joy comes in yellow.

“Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: dancing with daffodils

blogIMG_7336Some spring-like weather boosts my spirit and makes my heart and mind do a little happy dance.

It appears Spring has finally descended on my neck of the woods, the one where Ol’ Man Winter hung on by his icy claws until the bitter end.

Sunshine. Warmer temperatures. Blue skies. And with them, green grass begins to emerge adding a touch of color to the far-too-long-barren landscape around my home.  

Then….pop, pop, pop. The daffodils and heavenly-scented hyacinths awaken from their slumber providing spots of yellow, purple, and pink. 

It’s Spring! And I feel like dancing with the daffodils as they sway in the breeze. As I dance, I spy it – the first dandelion of the season. Its sunny yellow face doesn’t disappoint me even though some consider dandy a weed. No, instead it adds to the pleasure I feel now as I bid adieu to winter and welcome spring.

Those perky daffodils remind me of the well-known poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,  written by William Wordsworth (English poet, 1770-1850):

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: do a 180

gray concrete road surrounded by green grass

Photo by Bruno Glu00e4tsch on Pexels.com

When life turns negative, it helps to do a 180. Turn it around by focusing on the positive. An old song sung by Bing Crosby may come to mind at those words:  “You’ve got to accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative; latch on to the affirmative; don’t mess with Mister In-Between.”

Those words ring true, don’t they? When things go awry, plans don’t come to fruition, difficult circumstances threaten to rain on our parades, it doesn’t help to go down the gloomy path of negativity.

It’s one of the things my ladies Bible study is working on this week in our quest for contentment. We’re making lists of all the positive aspects of our lives (and there are so many), but we’re also making lists of the negative ones as well. Then we’re determining which one of those negative circumstances is the most troubling and praying over it.

But we’re not just praying for God to take it away. Nope. We’re praying for the Lord to show us how He has been working on that issue and thanking Him for all the ways He helps and sustains us while we maneuver our ways through it.

It’s a different perspective from our usual way of looking at things. Our way of perceiving from our earthly view instead of an eternal one.

While working on my positive list, the lyrics to a song from The Sound of Music kept popping into my mind.

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.” ~ lyrics by Richard Rodgers

What if we only focused on our favorite things? Wouldn’t the world look brighter? Happier? Easier to handle? That glass of water would always look half full instead of half empty.

Reality tells us life isn’t always going to be rosy. But we can have faith to hang in there. We can have faith to pray to the Blessed Controller of all things. We can be thankful, even in the middle of dire situations, because we can hang onto the hand of the Creator and He will help us to weather the storm.

“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” ― Roy T. Bennett,

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: success

blogIMG_6991Success! After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the red-headed woodpecker enjoying his snack at our front yard suet cake holder, I finally caught him.

It’s not the best photo as I snapped it in a hurry before he few away in a flurry, but it’s proof that he exists and frequents our place often.

I’m not an expert on identifying birds but I believe he is a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Please correct me if I’m wrong, all you birdwatchers out there.

Feeling a little success is encouraging to me today because I’m still in the throes of rummaging and sorting through the humongous piles of stuff in our unfinished basement. Will my vision of a clean and orderly lower level ever come to fruition?

If you need me, I’ll be in the basement finishing the job I started.

 “Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts.” ~ Coleman Cox

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com