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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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 ❤️

 

Happy Fourth of July!

 

Good Morning to you all from the far north of the United States, just a day before our Fourth of July celebration. As a younger girl this holiday meant family cook-outs, festive fireworks displays, watermelon, outside games and swimming and the start of the fun summer season. As I age with a grown family and I’ve seen a little bit of the world, I recognize the true significance of this day in this country. It’s a day of remembrance of when our forefathers came together as one and created this special nation independent of Great Britain and the King. It’s time for Americans to salute the old glory of stars and stripes and pay homage to this great nation!

 

 

 

 

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The Stars and Stripes

 

 

 

I have to dive into politics and recent criticisms of our President momentarily because  I’ve been really discouraged and truthfully, pretty embarrassed while watching all the news of him.  Despite this, four years passes by quickly (let’s hope) and hopefully our people will pick a stronger and honorable leader, someone capable of leading our great nation. Whatever circus is churning and scandals that arise, our country is still beautiful and we experience precious freedom that many around the world just don’t have. Many countries are jealous of what we have and terrorists praise the divisions that exist right now, especially between Democrats and Republicans. This is when we should push our differences aside and get the work done for all of us.

 

 

Tomorrow our family will have a quiet cook out in our yard with hummingbirds racing from flower to flower and hopefully some well needed sunshine to warm our souls. Later we may hit the fireworks not far away and see all the blazing color light up the night. It’s a restful and low key day without the hoopla of big parties or parades, but that’s what we desire and enjoy.

 

 

As we indulge in these little celebrations, I’ll be thankful for my freedoms and put politics aside for a day or two.  This land continues to be my forever home and as an American, I salute all the active and past troops that have defended our great country!

 

To my fellow bloggers, happy writing and have a joyous week! To fellow Americans, I hope you all have a festive and safe Fourth of July!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

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Tom grilling last year and this year we’re doing a beer can chicken on the grill! Talk about a redneck picnic!

Be Still

 

Life in modern times is a go-go- go marathon crammed  full of workdays, commitments, and appointments. As an empty nest mother my routine has changed a bit and slowed down, but not as much as I expected. There are still work and house chores that must be met and then the rush takes over, especially when I’m working five days a week. Now summer is upon us and with that is the joy of our youngest son home from college. Summer days will run slower than the school year but even so there is always work and commitments to fulfill.

 

 

There are times I have to remind myself that the rush of life isn’t healthy or meaningful. We all need to practice being still. Just existing without being entertained or worked is difficult because we are not taught this. It’s an essential habit that we must learn. I am working on living this and it’s not easy because I’m used to loudness and being busy.

 

 

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I notice that our American culture is focused on entertainment and keeping busy. Just look at most families and their practices with their children. Many families schedule clubs, sports and commitments intertwined with school. Ballet classes, soccer games, karate meets, and the list goes on!  With hectic schedules, what are we truly teaching our children? That they have to be scheduled and entertained? That being on the go is much more valuable than being still?

 

 

I disagree with this mindset and wish that mothers and fathers would wake up. I do realize all this activity is born out of love for their children but is it healthy? What will our society turn into if no one is taught to be still and live in the moment. Is it such as bad thing to stay home on weekends and sit in the grass or look up at the clouds? How about simply listening to nature or reading a book?

 

 

 

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Here are some small ways I’m attempting to live in stillness and live with meditative intention:

 

Be still in the wee early hours of the morning. Drink your coffee or tea in peace. You don’t always need to talk, just savor it and quiet your mind. I like this time of day to pray or quietly reflect on life.

 

Be still when you are sick. I have a hard time with this one and don’t always  listen to my body when I should.  When you are sick, you need to rest. Everything else can wait, including work, family and  commitments because if you don’t rest, then it’ll take longer to join the rat race.

 

Be still in silence when praying. Clear your mind of that day’s happenings or what someone said to you in haste. Focus on your prayer intention. In the silence of the evening I practice prayer for family, friends and people I don’t know who need to be lifted up with His promise.

 

Take this tranquil pill everyday when you can take the time for you. It doesn’t matter when it is, whether it’s in the early morning or late at night. Close your eyes. Clear your thoughts and judgements. Breathe in and out, listening to your chest inhale and exhale. Simply be quiet and you will feel relaxed and reenergized. It’s a time of renewal for yourself….to just be. Do it for your well being everyday!

 

Sometimes it can be a true challenge but I attempt stillness in different ways everyday. It’s a form of meditation that’s good for your body and soul!

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

Mother’s Day: Grateful For These Women💗

On this Mother’s Day I’m reflecting upon special women in my life and their roles. I’m extremely grateful for these moms!  As a mom myself, I wish to honor them, for how can I truly enjoy this day without paying homage to my loved ones who have made a difference and influenced my mothering?

 

 

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Thank you to my mom, who has supported me from day one and loved me unconditionally. I owe so much to her for helping me grow and overcome so much, when I was younger. She was my go to person, who I could always  count on, until I stood on my own two feet. What I love about her is that she has always listened to me no matter what. When I’m down and out she whispers sweet little prayers for me aloud. It does my heart some good to know that mom is still looking out for me, even though I’m grown and a mother myself now. Happy Mother’s Day to the lady who gave birth to me so long ago with love.

 

 

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There’s another sweetheart in my life who befriended me at work so many years ago and brought me to her home for a hot meal and loving conversation. That day I met her only son, who happens to be my husband now.

 

On this special day I can’t write this post without mentioning Theo, my second mom. I’m so thankful for my mother in law and her friendship. She’s always been there for me and a champion for our family. We’ve done baseball games together, camped with the kids in the summers and spent several Christmases cooking a meal. She’s been an outstanding grandmother to her grandchildren and has always been there for her four children. That’s the kind of lady who sets an example and someone I learned from when I was starting out. Happy Mother’s Day to her with love.

 

 

 

I must mention my sons today as well. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by without my grateful feelings for my two sons. Being a mother has been the most learning, humbling, exhilarating and rewarding experience of my life!❤️ If I would want to be remembered for anything once I pass on, it would be that I was a great and loving mom and that I was happy doing it. I have no regrets, even with mistakes I made because I know I made up for them with love. Also that’s what makes me human!

 

 

Last but not least, I’m extremely grateful for the group of women I work with. We all work in an elementary wing and every teacher and para there are kind, like old friends who support each other with love. I have to thank Laura, Carol, Anne, Brittany, Beth, Darcy, Aimee, Joanna and Donna who work together with joy, their main goal is to teach children, support them and provide a safe loving environment. These special women are all mothers in one way or another through their nurturing and loving actions with the school children. Kudos to these heroes I know, who are teaching our future leaders with a grace and confidence that’s impeccable!

 

As I wrap up this post, I challenge you to think of the special women in your life.  Have you made the time to visit them, message or call? Most importantly, have you told them that you love them? That means the world to mothers , coupled with tight hugs and lots of kisses.

 

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there! I hope you receive precious time with your children and hugs too!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Angel Sent to Me

This post is dedicated to all angels and their believers!:)

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A photo from the farm, where we use to live and caretake. Whenever I see a sunset I think of God and angels.

 

 

 

 

As my ears popped and my belly stirred, we sat on a Southwest flight to Tampa. High above the clouds and riding with the wind, I was proud of myself for having the bravery to endure it and face my anxiety. I haven’t flown much in my life, two trips to be exact (one to Florida and one to Dallas to see my brother) and the last one was  6 or 7 years ago. I’m not sure but I’m surmising that my apprehensiveness is due to the unknown or if it’s because I’m not firmly planted on earth.

 

 

 

When you fly, you give up your control. Do you know that need to control everything around you? I do, which I think is common for many women. Here’s my reasoning… most of the time women are in charge on the household and that means making sure the housework is done and the house is organized. It means the calendar is full of written commitments. When your children are home, your the taxi driver, nurse, psychiatrist, cook, cleaner and you have a firm clutch on how the children are raised. Sometimes it feels like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, doesn’t it? Yet, even so,  there’s a choice you can make to rid your life of that pressure…do you know what my choice was?

 

 

 

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Another one of my favorites from our old house…such beauty and peace. The same feelings I feel when I pray and trust God.

 

 

 

I chose to follow the Lord and to pray. Believing in him gives me peace and restores my control. Even if I’m out of that strict hold, God has it, a firm grip on everything. He is in total control of your life and we go along for the ride. That doesn’t mean that our choices don’t affect things because I believe it matters.

 

 

 

It’s a free feeling to let go and trust. Completely trust God, for he is the ultimate soul in control. He watches our every move and blesses us as we go about our day. I know deep in my heart that he protects us and watches over. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be trials and tribulations in life, but through it all he carries you, teaches you a lesson and happens to leave his calling card.

 

 

 

I’m always watching or listening for a sign or angel sent to me from God. This time He did his tremendous work through a lady from our state. She sat on the aisle seat in our row. I talked lightly with her in the beginning and found out that she was a nurse at a school in the Concord area. We went about our ride, her watching TV on her tablet, Tom mesmerized out the window ( he saw clouds, fields, water, really interesting) and I wrote on my blog and reading from my book.

 

 

 

 

While the plane was descending, the kind lady, Laurie, started talking with me. She told me of how her family traveled all over the world, Caribbean islands, Greece, Italy and Ireland to name a few. I mentioned how Tom and I were empty nesters and of our dreams of travel once or twice a year. Laurie suggested various get always, travel tips and places to steer clear of. Being immersed in this interesting conversation while Tom watched out the window, I totally forgot that we were landing (a source of anxiety for me, as well as taking off).

 

 

 

Suddenly our plane touched down and the pilot heavily laid on the brakes. A few jolts and bumps and within moments it was over and the plane glided on the runway, waiting to approach the terminal. As I thanked Laurie for our talk and travel hints, she laid her hand lightly on my shoulder. “ I knew that you were anxious, honey, about landing and that’s why I kept you occupied.” Right away I felt in my heart that God had used Laurie as an angel to help. He does listen and answer prayers in many ways!

 

 

 

Have you had special experiences that you know there was divine intervention? ❤

I feel blessed that I can spot these signs and gain the ultimate comfort when doing so. These powerful occurrences just reassure me even more of God’s presence in my life.

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

Happy Easter

 

Happy Easter! 

 I’ll be busy hosting a little family gathering for the holiday and wanted to wish you all a joyous day tomorrow!

He is risen!

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One of my favorite photos of a sunset! This is in our former yard where sunsets were an everyday blessing. Sunsets remind me of God’s blessings.

 How grateful I am that He is and that I am building a relationship with God and trusting him on my personal journey!

Sending blessings and love to you all!

God Bless you.

Heart and Soul