Year Two Drop Off

An installment of Empty Nest Notes

 

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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.

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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,

Amen

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Secret to Life

Hello everyone! It’s been about two weeks since I’ve written a post. Every time I think of it something comes up and the moment rushes by. Even so, my thoughts have been with you, my fellow bloggers, friends and family who invest your precious time in my writings.  This weekend I plan to catch up with other bloggers’ posts and comment for I feel that’s just as important as writing my posts. Being a part of the blogging community has become very special to me. I love to share my thoughts and life with you all, but I also love to read what is going on with you. Keeping up on your posts  is one way I can honor this connection. It’s fun reading what you have to share including poetry, artwork and family moments. 

 

 

The next few weeks I hope to write more and post on some ideas and happenings in my life. Be on the look out for fall posts, my newest adventure in walking and a comical incident on our beach weekend. 

 

 

 

Recently Tom and I watched a funny movie, a flick we had watched many years ago but revisited it once again, City Slickers with Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. It kept us laughing and after working hard all week it’s great to sport a belly laugh whoop! Currently it’s playing on Netflix and is worth the time as the light hearted comedy soothes the soul.

 

 

 

 

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Shared from Rolling Stone.com

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever noticed when you read a book twice or repeat a movie that you notice a new detail or scene? It happens to me all the time! I want to share with you a little about the movie and the scene that struck me. Billy Crystal’s character lives in the busy hustle of the city with his wife and son. He is going through a rough patch on his 39th birthday and experiencing problems at work. It seems that he’s depressed and weary about his future. His good friend plans a cattle drive trip with Crystal and two other friends. Crystal’s wife encourages him to go and says that it would be valuable time to think about his life and what he wants.

 

 

 

 

On the Cattle drive Crystal meets the cowboy Curly, played by Jack Palance. If you have seen him in action then you know that he’s the perfect fit for the role. With nonchalant coolness coupled with a rough manner, Palance plays Curly with convincing expertise.

 

 

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Shared from Patheos.com

 

 

 

 

While Crystal gets to know Curly on the cattle drive, they share an intimate conversation regarding the meaning of life. Leather skinned Curly shares that driving the cattle with the rolling fields and the peace is his meaning in life. With a cigarette wedged in the crook of his mouth, Curly tells Crystal that there’s one secret to life and that he has to discover what that is. Once you know that secret , everything else falls into place.

 

 

 

I chewed on this thought for a few days, asking myself what was my secret to life? Sometimes you have to dig deep in your soul to answer this enigma. Other times it’s so obvious that it lies right in your lap! My secret to life was born as a simple idea in high school, family. I would doodle in my least favorite classes and dream of my husband and children. That’s where it originated and it’s  evolved as time has marched on.

 

 

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My two sons on Dylan’s high school graduation

 

 

 

I say this with complete confidence, that family has structured my life and has filled my cup overflowing. I came from a big family of four children and two hard working parents who divorced after 21 years of marriage. Our family was far from perfect, we fought like most. Despite this, we built relationships that will span our lives. Being in a big family taught me about coming together, forgiveness and what family really is all about. It’s not always perfect or ideal but it’s all we have. It’s our roots that stabilize our life and holds us to that one constant.

 

 

 

Having my husband and two sons has completed me and taught me that this unit is the strongest and the most vulnerable. Family is sharing together, trusting during easy or trying times. It is the one entity that is the glue in my life. It’s allowed me to explore motherhood, something I’m pretty good at and enjoy with all my heart. Being a mother is part of this secret of life and will stay with me until I die. Secondly I cherish being a wife and sharing my life with my husband. As we explore life without the boys here, we have become closer in a new way.

 

 

 

 

What’s that one special thing…your secret to a good life? Everyone has the one secret to living a life of their dreams. Maybe it’s your family, your growing career or service to others. I encourage you to ponder over this question. Maybe it’ll be an instant no brainer answer or it may take you awhile to realize what that one secret of life is. Once you know, hold on to it and cherish it.

 

 

 

My sons a few years back….in their cool phase!

 

Blessings to you all as this day marches on. I hope you all enjoy your day!~

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Happy Anniversary Babe

August 26, 1995 Our Wedding Day 

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Lasting love….our wedding day 1995

 

 

Twenty two years ago I married this guy. We have made a home together, where we created a beautiful family. Through the years we’ve  raised two great sons, who have grown into promising young men with strong work ethics and future visions. I’m proud to say our home was and still is happy, safe and filled with love for each other.

 

 

My anniversary card that my husband bought me last year.

 

One of our wedding photos. We are posed where we married, in front of the pond.

 

 

This is us this year, lots of physical changes are apparent but our love has grown stronger with age.❤

 

This guy is my best friend…the type of person who has your back, a good listener and he makes me laugh! How blessed I am to be married to this guy! 22 years of marriage and 24 years together❤ Tonight we are going out to eat, our usual celebration for tying the knot. Another tradition is that we order dessert to go and bring it back home to savor during a movie. 🎉🎉🎉

 

Where Did You Meet Your Spouse?

If you were to marry your spouse where you met, where would it be?

 

I saw this post on Facebook and it triggered a writing inspiration. I met my husband through my mother-in- law. We worked together at Butson’s deli and became friendly. She invited me to dinner after work one night, a delicious shrimp creole. I remember great loving conversation and soon after dinner, my father-in-law Bob and husband Tom arrived home from a work trip at her daughter’s house.

 

 

 

I’ve told this story many times, but never on my blog. My  first impression of her son was that he was a very handsome man. I felt my insides quiver and I shook his hand, not knowing that I would marry this guy. Tom shook my hand and disappeared to the bathroom for a shower. I stayed a few more minutes but left when he didn’t come out. I’m told that when he finally came back to the dining room, he asked, ” where did she go?”

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after we met at his house for dinner, our first date. Tom made chicken fingers and French fries in a small broaster. After we played Monopoly and explored his back yard, where there was a pond. The most romantic gesture he’s ever revealed happened next. Much to my surprise, this 32- year old man took me out in his row-boat on the pond. As he rowed to and fro, I beamed with happiness and absorbed the peaceful scene. This vivid memory lives deep in my heart.

 

 

Tom and I met at his parent’s house in New Hampshire in 1993. Two years later we had an intimate wedding with 50 family members and friends at the same house, right in front of the same family pond. He had enlarged this water hole with his dad years before, rowed me across it that first date and finally married me there.💕

Where did you meet your spouse? I would love to hear your story.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

The Doggy Dock

Recently I enjoyed a fun camping trip at Mountain Lake Campground in Lancaster, New Hampshire, about 40 minutes from my home. One of my inspiring highlights was what I witnessed at the beach, an amusing display of doggy family fun.

 

 

Relaxing people sat here and there on the beach and on the bordering grass. A proud Golden Retriever pranced along the perimeter of the beach, like a royal prince entering his castle. Suddenly a little brown dog yipped at his heels, disheveling  his cool demeanor. A chaotic chorus of dogs’ barks rang throughout the beach, igniting the owners’ chuckles and amusement. This spectacle was much better than my slow book, capturing my attention throughout.

 

 

The doggy dock is sandwiched between the campground’s fishing dock and the swimming rope barrier. It’s just big enough for three or four owners and their pets. This day a content owner and a few other campers stood with their dogs intent on play and leisure. Upon releasing his dog’s leash, the camper snapped his wrist and energetically thrust the stick several feet in the water. There was a simultaneous splash of the Golden and little dog, jumping in the lake amid laughing families. It was amusing to see the prince like Golden keep swimming into the lake. I guess he felt free and just wanted to keep going, much to his owner’s chagrin.

 

 

Laughter and pure fun lived on that beach that day. Families that were strangers became fast friends, all orchestrated by their dogs. I notice that the commonality of dogs brings people together, something I am not familiar with. You see, I’m a cat person….dog lovers ,don’t judge me by this, but it’s true. I’ve had a few cats over the years and have grown quite fond of how they are. Despite this, I wish they would be able to play fetch. That’s unheard of, especially in pools of water. Cats just don’t do that and the only object they may fetch is a catnip mouse but it would have to be on their terms.

 

 

The special moments passed, as swiftly as they began and I decided to pack up. As I folded up my metal beach chair and packed away my book, I briefly reflected on this scene. Through all the barking and laughing, I saw complete love. Dogs and all pets bring a deep joy to their owners, a happiness that is an entity all itself. I’m blessed that I witnessed this and genuinely happy for the content campers and their dogs!

 

 

 

 

I hope you all are enjoying the summer or whatever season you are immersed in now. Let me know if you have a dog or cat and what your favorite moments are.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

A Little Sign

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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.❤❤❤

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

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤