Year Two Drop Off

An installment of Empty Nest Notes


I’m so proud of this guy! He’s a happy guy back at college!


About three weeks ago my husband, son and I ventured south to our son’s college. It’s Branden’s sophomore year, an easier move than last.  This year we all knew what to expect and thankfully there were no tears as we moved and dropped off.




Imagine a squished family wedged in a jam packed car. Heaping clothes were piled high in baskets and a microwave, mini fridge and crates of supplies were stacked upon each other. My husband is an expert car packer from years of caretaking and chaffeuring, so he was up for the task. By the time all was loaded, a small seat in the back remained where Branden had to squeeze in for the ride. Thankfully Tom could still see in the side mirrors for a safe drive.




Upon arriving, we saw cars with families like ours everywhere. People scurried around with crates, small pieces of furniture and all the college essentials. It was comforting to greet some student helpers with huge laundry wagons to transport Branden’s belongings. It was as simple as signing up and while we waited and ate a quick snack, Branden went to sign in and receive his room key.

This photo is a vivid memory of last year, Branden’s first year at college.




This year our son lives on the second floor, a floor down from last year. The room is much smaller facing the back side of the building with two windows letting in the lovely light. He shares his room with a friend of his, one person less from last year. Last year’s room was big but needed to fit three grown men.





Tom helped Bran haul the mini fridge in and placed it under his bed. It’s cool that the bed is on risers so we raised it, with enough room to fit a few crates and the fridge. His bed was placed on the right side of the wall parallel to his buddy’s bed on the left. He has a desk and chair and a bureau which we placed at the foot of his bed to save space. His closet is good sized, enough to house all his clothes and essentials.





We stayed about an hour and then was on our way but not without hugs and spoken well wishes for a great school year. Riding home we talked about Bran’s happy disposition and how this college really is the perfect fit for him. He set his mind on it early in the college search and just knew in his heart that it was home. I can only wish this for any college freshmen, to know what place speaks to them as a second home. As proud parents, Tom and I are blessed that he made the right choice for him without pressures from outside sources.




In a few weeks I plan to bake one of Bran’s favorite cookies, peanut butter chocolate chips to send in a care package. I figure it’s a package of home for him to enjoy and relish in. I talked to my mother in law and she plans to bake when it cools down in Florida. We are setting up a system that we let each other know when we send our packages so that it doesn’t arrive the same week.



I want to wrap up this post with a small prayer for college students and their families.

Dear God,

Please allow these students to adjust to college life, especially freshman. Give them strength to harbor the change and courage to withstand any obstacle. Help them study hard and make good friends, friends that last a lifetime. Bless them as they live the college life and ease their parents’ minds that all will be well.

In the Lord’s name,


God Bless you all as you go about your day. I’m spending some time writing today and hope to tackle a few more posts for the coming days.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul












A Little Sign


Have you ever been on vacation or a get away and stumbled upon a surprise, a gentle reminder of God’s love? I have,  on my camping trip with Theo, my mother in law and friend. As far as I’m concerned the gift was no coincidence…


I sat on a metal folding beach chair when my right foot skated across a smooth surface, a rock. It was partially hidden in the shallow depths of the sand. I love finding special rocks and the few times that they are unique, they are secretly stashed in the folds of my pocket for the trip home.


This particular rock was not only smooth and beautiful, but a heart shape! It’s not the only heart shaped rock I have stumbled upon, for years ago I found a big rock that my mom painted for my garden and last year a pinkish heart rock that decorates my shady garden. It seems that I’ve started collecting heart shaped rocks simply by fate. 


This heart was a sign from God for a few reasons. I believe he coaxed me to find it so that I was reminded of his presence and His love. It also served as a reminder to drop anxiety and relax during the trip. I’m grateful for these signs, for they just appear suddenly when I seem to need them. I’m always on the look out for them, for if I’m not paying attention it may just pass by without meaning. Be on the look out for little signs from Him, however how small. There’s always a reason and you must figure that out for yourself.

I must mention in the wake of Charlottesville and recent terrorist attacks, I’m thinking of how the news focuses on all the evil in the world. Please remember to focus on the love that people freely give to each other instead of the evil and hate that occurs! Our steady army of people who refuse to give in to hate stand strong with an unwavering faith in good. God’s love lives in all of us who believe and fight for love and peace! Blessings and peace to you all.❤❤❤

I think an amazing sunset is one of God’s pure gifts!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤



Comparison is the Thief of Joy



A few months ago I read somewhere that “comparison is the thief of joy.” Ever since I keep revisiting that thought. It stuck with me because truthfully I’ve compared my life to others, when I was younger. Haven’t we all compared our life to another at one time or another? Maybe you’ve had fleeting thoughts of that how unfair it is that a person gets all the good breaks. How come that person seems anointed with luck and you continue to receive the short end of the straw? 



It all stemmed from insecurities and what seemed to be competition from others. I think I, like many people, have developed a strong sense of self and with that competition and comparison has thankfully fizzled! As that maturity ages like a fine wine, my realization has been that engaging in this is a negative act.



I know some people who compete with others in everything they do and fortunately I’m not made of  the same cloth. I’m just me and live the way I want, free of that whirlwind race. It shows how unhappy some people are and how comparisons can be toxic and damaging to their lives. 




I try to think of it this way, EVERYONE LEADS A DIFFERENT LIFE! You have been led on a unique path, a collage  of all your experiences that have happened to you. Have faith in your path and remember that your journey is entirely unique.





Stop comparing! Be happy with what’s dealt to you and refrain from toxic comparing. Sometimes it seems like others have a free ride, but you don’t know the whole story and they may not be happy. What matters is your joy and truly loving your moments, without longing for someone else’s life. Feel the joy in your life and cherish those special moments without comparing. Once you LIVE and LOVE YOUR life, there’s a freedom and a let go of comparisons.




Relish the joyful times and stay strong during the rough bumps. Maybe you’ve had a hard period and times have tested you but it WILL end. Stay positive, pray for guidance and be happy for people. You will join them in your own blessings soon enough but for now it’s a test. Do you have the strength to pass? I think so!




All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️


A Fawn’s Cry


Here is the landscape where the poor helpless fawn wandered into. Perhaps the doe on the right from last year is his/her mother.




On a bright sunny Saturday afternoon the birds were chirping as endless cars raced down our road. The day before strutting busy turkeys appeared in a nearby field as well as a huge bear sighting the day before. If you’ve read my posts before you may remember that we have two game trails on either side of our house, which is a fabulous way to spot animals all year long. Wildlife sightings are special to Tom and I and we look forward to those precious moments. 







As I worked on my garden and flower boxes, I happened to look up at the right moment to spy a new fawn walking across our road a hundred feet away. The young fawn was gingerly crossing behind our pond.With wobbly legs and an uncertain gait, the newborn could’ve been about a week or two old or maybe even younger. I continued to watch apprehensively because it’s mother was nowhere in sight. Being a mother myself, my gut instinct was to make sure that she was around. What would I do anyway….nature has to take care of itself. Perhaps it already crossed, I hoped with an open heart.





The afternoon wore on as my husband and I did yard chores and he left to work on one of his client’s lawns. Hours later, towards the end of the afternoon Tom and I sat at our outside table enjoying the last moments of the day and talking. He held a cold beer as we laughed and talked and reminisced about our day. Suddenly we heard a wild crying. Something was wrong but what was it? Tom knew right away the source of the crying…it was the fawn. Evidently it strayed from the mother and was parked in our woods, lost and alone. I wondered what the poor thing had be doing all that time! Probably it played in the woods and became tired and laid down to rest. 





Tom wondered if maybe the mother doe had twins, like one of the deer who lived nearby last year. It can be tough watching two little ones and if one runs off, it would be hard for the mother to find it with another baby in tow. Tom said that the piercing crying would alert the mother and she would follow it to her baby. I hoped so because I didn’t want the ending to go bad. Awful thoughts of a coy dog or another predator haunted me.



It’s cries gave me goosebumps all over my arms and legs and I had a tight sick feeling in my gut. These unforgiving incidents of  nature breaks my heart! I’ve witnessed a few heartbreaking scenes in nature and even though that’s what’s meant to be in nature, it’s still painfully hard for me the older I become. I’ve seen a neighboring farmer run over a hiding newborn by accident and the desperate mother doe seeking her young days after. The frantic fear and desperate longing sat deep within me, I knew just how she felt. The worse part of the situation was that I was helpless…if I could’ve done something to help her I would have!







The every fawn’s cries forced me in the house because I was helpless in the situation. I went about my housework and vowed to go back out later to investigate. Hours later upon revisiting my yard, I saw what I had longed to see. The mother deer was attempting  to herd her young across the street and all the while the wobbly legged fawn confusedly ran here and there but not where mama wanted her. Watching keenly, the scene reminded me of many child rearing episodes when I desperately tried to steer my boys on the right path. They didn’t always want to do that…their young independence and nativity surfaced many times.




It’s been a week since I’ve seen mother and her young fawn and random thoughts come to me. My worst fear is that they became separated again or that something tragic happened to the young fawn. I pray that they fare well in their world and that little fawn learns how to defend itself and follow mother’s lead.


The only regret I have of this post is that I don’t have a picture to share with you. Everyday I bring my camera outside with me just in case I am handed the golden opportunity of capturing this beautiful pair. Who knows…possibly by the end of the summer I’ll be granted the magical moment and I’ll share it with you all.


All My Best,

Heart and Soul




Grow Up!



My sister-in-law used to have an interesting sign in her garden

which stated, GROW UP!

It amused me to no end because it could have two meanings.

The minute I spotted it,

with a little chuckle,

I imagined a teenage girl yelling this at her younger

brother who may have teased her incessantly.

True story for many.

A casual whisper to the roots in the soil

may help with some sunshine

and water. ( you know what they say

about people talking to their plants!)


But unlike the catty girl,

my whisper will be in a gentle yet pleading tone.


Grow up and flourish!



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Our corn is coming well…things are starting to grow. The whispering helps!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤