I smell….school!

blogDSCN0263There!  That’s it!  Did you catch a whiff of that?  I definitely smell school, do you?

The other morning, I awakened and took a nice deep breath while I lazily stretched in bed.  And that’s when I caught a whiff of the air circulating in and out of our bedroom via the open windows.  It smelled like school.

I can’t really describe it with words, but there’s a distinct smell in the early morning air this time of year.   The days are still warmed by the sunshine, but the nights commence their descent into cooler temperatures.  I’m certain there must be a scientific reason for what transpires but I don’t know what it is.  All I know is that fragrance in the air reminds me of going back to school.

Even though it’s been decades since I jumped on a school bus or packed up my belongings for dorm life, that smell transports me back in time to the first few days of a new school year.   I can vividly recall standing outside my house, shivering a bit in the cool, morning air, excited and yet a little nervous, waiting for the school bus to arrive on the first day back to school.  Yep, the scent in the air reminds me of crisp recently purchased school clothes, clean white tennis shoes, freshly sharpened pencils, and pristine notebooks with no doodles defacing them.

This time of year, stores tout their back-to-school sales and the aisles overflow with everything you ever wanted to start a new school year with and more.  At the discount store, I maneuver past mothers with children in tow loading up their shopping carts with packs of crayons, glue, rulers, markers, and backpacks.   College aged students heap all those dorm necessities into their carts.  A walk in the mall reveals families purchasing school clothes and the shoe stores swarm with children trying on shoes.   I notice school buses timing their practice runs.

My nose is right.  It’s time to go back to school.   Gone are the days when my children and I piled in the car, school supply lists in hand, to begin the annual ritual of back to school shopping.   The arrival of a new school year generated excitement with transitions from elementary to middle to high school to college, another season of sports practices and games, different schedules to learn, and new teachers to meet.

After a summer of leisure and relaxation, the smell of fall in the air meant the hustle and bustle of a new school year was about to descend and we had to get ready! But now at Mama’s Empty Nest, the scent of school in the air just ushers in a new season.  I can sit on my front porch swing in the warmth of the afternoon, watch the school buses drive by, hear the chatter of students on the bus, and reminisce about those days of putting my own children on the big yellow bus for another year of learning.

It’s my second year of not sending someone back to school, and in Chapter 8, Page 22, of my book of Opportunity, I can honestly say I’ve made peace with that.  No marathon shopping excursions, no frantic run to Wal-Mart in college town because we forgot this, that, or the other thing.  I find extending summer relaxation into this back to school season enjoyable, but the best part of all is my check book is a lot healthier too!

© 2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Still Daddy’s little girl

blogscan93If you’re female and you’ve been blessed with an endearing relationship with your father, no matter how old you may be, you’re still Daddy’s little girl.

Our middle daughter recently called and wanted to speak to her father.   While he chatted with her, she surprised him with an invitation to spend a day out with her – just the two of them, her treat.

Hubby’s birthday falls in the same month as Father’s Day and daughter had promised him then she had a special gift in mind.  Between her job, wedding planning, and spending time with her fiancé, she doesn’t have many weekends free, but she set aside one Saturday just for her dad.

She planned ‘Daddy-Daughter’ day with an activity they both would appreciate.  These two share a love for historical places, so a trip to one of the local museums seemed perfect.  Unfortunately, this particular site closed early that day, so they took a detour to our city’s National Aviary and then a scrumptious dinner out afterward.

As always, our photography prone daughter snapped lots of pictures.  Anyone who views those photos easily could surmise that daughter and dad experienced a great day together.  I wonder how many twenty-something daughters care to spend a day with just dear ol’ Dad, and how many fathers really devote time to their daughters.  I think there are multitudes of daughters who desperately desire time with their fathers but are cheated of it, and that truly makes me sad.

My father was Dad to three daughters.  It’s safe to say, next to my mother, we three girls were the light of our Dad’s life.  He always treated us like his treasures. Even after we all became adults, he continued giving us gifts of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.    Dad loved spending time with all of his girls, and that included grand-daughters too.

Our father didn’t have a role model since our grandfather died when Dad was a baby, so our papa set his own fatherhood standards.  And they were exemplary.  My sisters and I never felt unwanted, unloved, or like our father didn’t have time for us.  Instead, we experienced the reassurance that we were taken care of,  protected, safe, and very, very loved.

And that is vastly important for a young girl as she grows up.  Research shows that fathers have just as much and often more influence on their daughters as mothers do.    One researcher (L. Nielsen) states a “father has the greater impact on the daughter’s ability to trust, enjoy and relate well to the males in her life…well-fathered daughters are usually more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more successful in school and in their careers than poorly-fathered daughters.”

All you Dads out there, it’s time to step up to the plate and tell your daughters how important they are to you.  Better yet, show them.  If you need some good pointers, I’d recommend this book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters:  10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, by Dr. Meg Meeker.

It’s never too late to let your daughter know she’s still Daddy’s little girl.  I know that I’m grateful my father made me feel secure in his love.  And today in Chapter 8, Page 5, in my yearly book called Opportunity, I’m also thankful my husband is that kind of father to our daughters.   Maybe that’s why the following Subaru commercial always makes me cry!

© 2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The gift of being needed

pexels-photo-236164.jpegI confess.  I used to announce to anyone who would listen that I was not going to have children.  Yep, that was me – back in my college days.

Rewind the crazy movie reel of my life back to the 70’s when I was a college co-ed.  I was so full of myself.  I bought into the idea that a career would fulfill all my wildest dreams.  I was so very wrong.

The notions and ideas I had of life then boggle my mind now as I revisit my past.  I also used to spout quite often that I was never getting married.  The single career life for me, that’s what I thought.  I even wrote a silly little ditty – “A housewife I could never be, for that would be the end of me!”

Of course, all of that ranting was before I met the love of my life.  After three years of dating, my true love and I advanced to matrimony.  First notion shot down.  Oh well, I still did work on the career thing, even though I changed careers because of dissatisfaction in my first choice.

Then after almost five years of marriage, along came oldest daughter.  Notion number two blown completely out of the water.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the intensity of emotion that flooded over me when I gave birth to my first child.  The powerful emotional bond and overwhelming love I felt for this tiny little human being that had just emerged from my body was something I had never experienced before.  Mother lion would have described me appropriately.

I couldn’t imagine being without her or leaving her in someone else’s care to return to my career.  And after her birth, I didn’t go back to my job, a decision that never disappointed me.  A new career had already been forged – motherhood.  Three and a half years later, middle daughter was born and my intense mother lion feelings doubled.  Son arrived two years after her and now my motherhood role and passionate love for my children tripled.

Fast forward to the present.  Being the mother of my three now-adult children has been the most remarkable experience of my life.   For most of those years, I was a stay-at-home mom, soccer mom, whatever you want to call me, but I have never regretted one solitary moment of my time spent at home raising my children.

Today I was given a little gift, a little bit of retrospect, a glimpse backward into time to remember what it felt like to be just “mama.”   Middle daughter needed a medical procedure done today, one which required her to have a driver afterward.  Last night she drove up from the city and spent the night preparing for this test.   The mama in me kicked in big time.  I shopped for clear liquids which she could drink, fussed over her, checked on her, heated up broth to warm her, and it felt so right and so good to do so – to be a mama taking care of her child.

Early this morning while it was still dark, we headed out into the blustery,  snowy weather for the hospital’s outpatient department.  I didn’t sleep well, too much consternation over daughter’s test.  I spent a good portion of the night and this morning praying that my little girl in that grown up woman’s body would be safe during the testing and that the results would be good news.

While we waited for her test to commence, I wanted to protect her from any harm.  I wanted to take her hand in mine and tell her all would be well.  But what 25-year-old woman wants to be embarrassed by her mother fawning all over her?  They whisked her off and I managed to blow my beloved child a kiss and tell her I loved her.

The nurse called me back to the recovery area as they wheeled in my daughter on her gurney.  She was still sedated from the anesthesia and she looked just like the little princess she used to be as she slept with her mouth slightly ajar.  Her nurse asked me, “Are you with her?”  I answered, “Yes, I’m her mother.”  As soon as those words emerged from my mouth, my sweet one’s eyes flew open and searched the room for me.

I’m not sure I can even put into words the feeling that enveloped me as I realized my daughter heard my voice and woke to search for her mama.  Joy.  Elation.  Heartwarming.  It made me smile as I stroked her head, tucked a tendril of her hair behind her ear, and told her I was there.  She smiled back at me with that groggy, silly way people who are coming out of sedation have.

Driving home, I asked if she was hungry and told her we could stop to get her something to eat, anything she wanted since she hadn’t eaten solid food for over 24 hours.   Ever her mama’s daughter, she wanted donuts.

Right now, my very grown-up, responsible, independent, and self-sufficient daughter is tucked into her mommy and daddy’s bed napping nicely.  Just like she did when she was a little girl.  And on this day, this empty nest mama is rejoicing for the loveliest of gifts – the gift of being needed.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Mind your P’s and Q’s

light-sign-typography-lighting.jpgMind your manners, please.

Manners seem to be a thing of the past nowadays.  It seems each and every day someone quite rude and devoid of manners crosses my path.

I find it disconcerting that people would have to resort to an online reference to learn proper etiquette and good behavior, but there are countless websites for that purpose.  Does that disturb anyone but me?

Why are there so many human beings out there who don’t utter the words “excuse me,” “please,” or “thank you” let alone know how to be polite and courteous?  Instead I hear vulgarity brazenly spoken and witness a host of other discourteous actions that would cause Miss Manners to suffer a heart attack.  Not only do people have little respect for others, elders or not, but they appear to also hold no respect even for themselves.

That’s why a trip south always restores my faith in the civility of the human race.  A few years ago, when oldest daughter was preparing for her move to the deep South, I traveled with her to search for an apartment.

It was my first trip that far into the South and I still recall the amazement I felt over southerners’ lovely etiquette.  Everywhere we ventured I was called “ma’am,” and people were quite kind and chivalrous.  Thank you, you’re welcome, pardon me were vocabulary words obviously spoken in everyday language.

Even on my flight back home, the twenty-something young man seated next to me on the plane sprinkled our conversation with “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am.”  I finally disclosed to him that I had never been called ma’am so many times in my life as I had encountered in the two or three days I had been there.  His answer was, “Well, ma’am, here in the South, our mamas know how to raise us right.”

I will never forget that conversation and I ponder why everyone’s mama doesn’t raise her children right.  I mean what is so difficult about teaching your child to say “yes, please” or “no, thank you”?  Why is it an arduous task to open a door for someone, let another go first, or say excuse me?

I was again reminded of this when hubby and I made our recent trek into the southern states.  We were in Tennessee, stopped at a restaurant for dinner.  There was a gift shop there and we wandered around checking out the wares. While I was looking at a shelf of items, a little boy, probably about five or six, walked in front of me to get to his mama.

His grandma was behind him, and she promptly stopped him and in a firm and southern accented voice said, “What do you say?”  He was a little confused and answered questioningly, “Please?”

She then explained that he had rudely stepped in front of me and again demanded, “Now, what do you need to tell this lady?”  That time, his manners circuit connection fired up accurately, he turned to me and said quite sweetly, “Excuse me please.”

Excuse me please.  Most adults don’t even articulate that phrase, let alone kindergarten children.  And I simply will not accept the excuse that children are growing up in dysfunctional families or disadvantaged environments and that’s why they do not have decent manners or good conduct.

Oldest daughter is involved in the Big Brother/Big Sister program in her city.  She spends time encouraging a young girl who comes from a disadvantaged home.  The child’s daddy is incarcerated, and her mama makes do as best she can.  One evening we treated oldest daughter and her “little sis” to dinner out at a bar-b-que restaurant.

That child had very nice table manners.  She folded her napkin up when she was finished.  She even brushed all her crumbs to one little area in front of her.  She spoke politely and respectfully to us and she carried herself with dignity.  Her conduct was stellar and she should make her mama proud.

When we returned to her home, which was a temporary living space, she promptly thanked us for taking her to dinner.  That young lady had better social graces than most of the adults I observe, who come from middle-class or well-to-do families.

My mother used to say “mind your P’s and Q’s” to me when I was being impolite.  I’ve always wondered from where that saying was derived.  One explanation, which came from Wikipedia.com, suggests that the P is short for please and the Q for thank you, the latter of which contains a sound similar to the pronunciation of the name of the letter Q.  Parents used this phrase to educate their children in good manners and to remind them to use polite words when they spoke to others.

It all comes down to what that young Southern gentleman once told me, mamas (and daddies) out there, no matter what your situation in life is, you can raise your children right.  Let’s start with good manners, shall we?

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Parenting’s a roller coaster ride

blogIMG_0406

Being a parent is one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding jobs, you can ever occupy.

It’s a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns, and sometimes you just hang on for the ride.  Other times you want to throw your hands up in the air and see what happens.

One evening this past week, I joined a discussion group for parents of teens. I agreed to attend as a favor to my friend, a youth pastor, and as a representative of the non-profit for which I work.  My friend orchestrated the discussion at his church and because he isn’t a parent yet, he asked me to sit in and share any words of wisdom I may have about parenting teens. When someone asks me to give my thoughts on parenting, I always feel so inadequate.  My husband and I raised three children to adulthood, but I still don’t feel like an expert.  All I can offer as advice is to share what worked for my family.

I totally realize that when my now-grown children were teens, they were really good kids. Oh, we had our arguments and problems just like everyone else, but for the most part, our kids were respectful teens who made excellent choices.  My husband and I don’t take the credit but attribute that to God’s help and intervention.   He listened to countless prayers we lifted up for our children and He helped us guide them in their paths.   And thankfully, they listened!

One of the things I always tell those who ask my advice is that “Children will do what is expected of them.”  If you expect them to be smart-mouthed, rebellious brats, they will exceed your expectation.  If you expect them to be well-behaved, respectful, contributing members of the family, they will exceed that expectation.  I firmly believe setting boundaries and using discipline actually demonstrates to your children how much you love and care about them.

But honestly, my husband and I did not experience some of the heart-breaking situations that many parents face.  Oldest daughter, middle daughter and son:  you don’t have a clue how thankful I am that all three of you possess good heads on your shoulders and honor not only your mother and father but your heavenly Father as well by making outstanding godly decisions!  I am so proud of all three of you!

Two things do occur to me about the way we raised our children.  The first is that our family always attended church together. From the time they were born, we worshipped as a family.   We didn’t just drop the kids off at Sunday School every Sunday, their Dad and I attended adult Sunday School classes too.

Church was a major part of our life and trying to live a godly life was something we, as their parents and believers in Christ, endeavored to model every single day.   We attempted to teach our children that faith is more than religion, that it is a growing, personal relationship with Jesus.

Secondly, we always traveled as a family unit.  Part of this was due to the fact that for a good portion of our children’s growing up years, we lived far away from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and my husband traveled with his job a lot.

So the times we spent together as a family meant the world to us. We taught our children that as a family, we were a tight unit.  When one of the kids had a sports event, we all went to cheer her/him on.  If one of them was performing in a chorus or band concert or in the school musical, the rest of us were sitting out in the audience.

We ate meals together and played together.  We watched TV and went to the movies together.  We laughed and cried together.  We spent as much time together as we could and we talked and listened to one another.

Their friends were always welcome at our house, and we tried our best to make our house fun, yet still adhere to the rules.  As our children grew older, of course, they started to venture away from home, off on their separate ways, but we made sure our lines of communication stayed open and our bonds of connectedness remained intact.

I don’t know in what context she wrote this, but short story writer and poet Dorothy Parker once said, “The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”

We tried to make our home atmosphere pleasant but never thought about letting the air out of the tires!!  If you try that parenting tip, let me know how it works for you!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Ice cream for the soul

pexels-photo-618915.jpegA delicious bowl of ice cream on a hot summer evening places an exclamation point on an enjoyable day.

What is it about ice cream that soothes us and makes us feel like all is right with the world?

Hubby and I were blessed with both ice cream and an enjoyable day yesterday.  The first pleasant aspect of the day was when our son, who now lives in that state next door, arrived back at the homestead for the long holiday weekend.

After dinner, our house echoed with young people’s voices and enthusiasm as son’s newlywed friends, who just live a few miles down the highway from us, came to visit.  You can read about this young couple in an earlier post of mine called “The Glory of Love.”  There’s nothing sweeter than a young couple in love and they personify that warm, glowing emotion.

It was fun and entertaining to engage in conversation with them and our son. Topics of discussion ranged from new jobs to visits to foreign countries to tales of the boys’ memories growing up together and sharing good times here at our house, and lots of other subjects in between.  We capped the pleasant evening with bowls of delicious ice cream, including my favorite – mint chocolate  chip.

Today middle daughter drove up from the city on her day off to see her brother and spend the day with us.  The day didn’t deliver exciting adventures, on the other hand, it was just an ordinary day.   We ran some errands, visited the mall to upgrade some cell phones,  and ate some lunch together.   But it was a day spent together and that was the important part.

A friend called to chat today and when she heard that middle daughter was arriving for a visit with son, my friend remarked that it encouraged her that our grown children care about one another and spend time together enjoying each other’s company.

She said she hopes and prays her girls will be the same when they grow up.   I know they will because she and her husband are guiding their children in godly ways.

After we ended our conversation, it occurred to me that my friend couldn’t have given me a better complement than what she said about my “kids.”  I know hubby and I did the best we could as parents, but I give glory to our Lord God for the grounded adults our kids have become.   All three of our children love and serve Him and that makes all the difference.

It’s just like ice cream for my soul at the end of the day.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Because I’m the Mom, that’s why!

 

blogdscn0251I didn’t hear Ms. Frizzle declare, “Bus, do your stuff!”  So it must not have been The Magic School Bus exploring the world that I drove past on my way home from work today.

Matter of fact, the bus I passed was empty of students, not a bus full of inquiring young minds.  No doubt this bus driver was performing a trial run since school hasn’t commenced yet in our district.   In just a few days though, that lumbering symbol of back to school will be loaded with boisterous students ready, but maybe not willing, to begin a new school year.

But that big yellow school bus, even if it wasn’t magical,  did its stuff!  The mere sight of it invoked so many memories for me – not of my school days, but those of my children and their school years.

When my oldest daughter started kindergarten, we lived within walking distance of her elementary school, and I can still recall our walk to the end of our block and up half a block on her first day.  I didn’t cry that day because she was so thrilled to be going to school and I was excited for her.  She did think buses would be fun to ride though and when we moved to another town before the start of her second grade year, she got her wish to ride a big yellow bus.

Flash forward to her first year of high school.   I stood at my kitchen window watching her join the throng of neighborhood high schoolers climbing aboard the bus.  She looked so tiny and young to me; it felt like I was sending her off to the wolves, and I cried like a baby.

Middle daughter was so charged to board the school bus when her turn for kindergarten came, I don’t even think she called out “Bye, Mom!”   She happily went to school to learn, make new friends, and just “do.” And she never looked back once.

She couldn’t wait to follow in her sister’s footsteps and she practically flew to the bus stop at the end of our cul-de-sac to hop onto that big yellow bus.  She gained more than one bus buddy during her kindergarten year as she would occasionally come home to tell me which little boy tried to kiss her on the bus.  She was so happily launching her school years and it was such an adventure for her, how could I be sad? Flash forward to leaving her alone in her dorm room at college.  I cried like a baby.

When it was time for our youngest to head off to kindergarten, we lived in a different state.  I still remember valiantly checking my emotions, which had gathered into a gargantuan lump in my throat, as I watched my youngest child climb those steps onto the school bus.  His kindergarten teacher suggested parents follow the bus to school, meet your child in the classroom, observe that your child was settled in, and leave at an appropriate time.

I arrived in his classroom, noticed that he was already busy, and waited.   I realize now that I was hesitant to leave my son, not because I feared he wouldn’t adjust, on the contrary, I wasn’t ready to let him go yet!  I still relive that moment, which literally happened within five minutes of my arrival in the classroom, when he turned to me and said, “You need to go home now, Mom.”  And it’s been that way with him ever since.  Flash forward to the day of his high school graduation as I listened to him practice his valedictorian’s speech.   I cried like a baby.

As I drove by that big yellow school bus this afternoon, all of these memories cascaded into my mind like a swollen stream of water rushing down the mountain side, crashing into rocks as it flows.  The rock of reality abruptly allowed this thought to form in my mind — for the first time in well over 20 years, I am not sending a child back to school.

Of course my rational, logical mind has known that since our youngest graduated from college way back in May.  But the emotional and sentimental “mommy” part of me cringes at this twinge of sadness, pouts at the pangs of bittersweet reality as I  actually face this fact head on.

This time of year is always hectic for moms of school-aged children and it doesn’t stop when the kids trot off to college.  The bills for back-to-school items just get more expensive!  In some ways  though I miss the busy-ness of shopping for school supplies, laundering clothes, sewing on buttons that somehow are missing from someone’s favorite shirt,  helping pack up college necessities.  I predict I’m also going to miss traveling to college sports events and recognitions for this organization or that.

Sometimes I just miss being “Mom.”  Don’t get me wrong.  My children haven’t abandoned me or disowned me as their mother.  I’m pretty sure they still love me.  And they still call for advice on life — yeah, on laundry and cooking too.  It’s just different with your grown up children.  They can handle life pretty well on their own and they really don’t need to rely on you like they did when they were young.

So before I go bury my head in a pillow and saturate it with sobs, I thought I’d remind myself of the lighter side of motherhood.

The following video’s been around for a long time, but I watch it occasionally when I need a good guffaw AND to remind myself that some things about being a Mom I am happy to shed.  These are some of them.

Watch the video and have a good guffaw with me.  Why?  Because, because, because I said so,  I said so!  I’m the Mom, the Mom, the Mom, the Mom!  Ta-da!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A firefly in the dark

blogDSCN7880I awakened this morning with so many thoughts rambling through my brain, I fear my synapses are going to overload. 

So let’s see if I can make sense out of all the electronic firings going on in my head and put some of them into written words.

Lately it’s been hot and humid where I live, but that is very typical for the month of July. 

However, a few nights have cooled down sufficiently so that I can open my windows at night and sleep with delightfully fresh air and that makes me happy.

Last evening, it was cool enough to venture outside to my front porch and plunk myself down on the porch swing.  While I was doing so, I also had a phone conversation with someone near and dear to me who is going through an unnerving glitch in life right now.

As we spoke, my desire was to encourage her as much as I could.  Our conversation turned to the things of God, as it should.  We were discussing how hard it is to wrap our minds around our infinite God, more specifically how we can not seem to truly comprehend how much He loves us.  As in “amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

We turned a corner when we started discussing priorities in life – how we make things, people, events the center of our lives instead of Jesus being the center of our world.   As my dear one shared that God is teaching her to rely on Him, depend on Him and make Him her number one priority, something amazing occurred to me.

So here it comes, true confession time.  For many years, I thought Jesus was my first priority, but I have come to the realization that actually I placed my family in that number one spot.

Ah ha!  The light bulb comes on!  Actually while I was contemplating this, evening had descended on my yard and the fireflies (or lightning bugs as we call them here) started twinkling everywhere.

Talk about a light bulb moment! As those fireflies lit up the dark night, and it is really dark out here in the country at night, with their little bits of light, God’s truth was sparking in my mind and soul.  Because of my displaced priorities, letting my now adult children go bravely into the world has been difficult for me.  I’ve struggled over the last few years with this “empty nest” thing.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t really want my children to stay child-like, depending on us.  I’m proud and thankful that they’ve managed to grow up well, be responsible and accountable young adults, and are capable of taking care of themselves quite nicely, thank you very much! But the mama in me misses the old days sometimes, when our house was filled with young ‘uns and their antics and laughter….and they needed me more.

Now that the college days are over, my young adults are all moving out into homes of their own.   And I have such mixed emotions about that.  Happy, excited and thankful for them…..sad and a little melancholy for me.  In a lot of ways, this past year has been my year of loss and this just seems like one more loss to withstand.

So my revelation last night has given me a new perspective.  Because I’ve placed my family first, instead of giving my Lord his due,  it’s no wonder I feel like I do.  A little restructuring of priorities is in order.   Which brings me back to my brain in overload mode.

Quite some time ago, a close friend gave me a book entitled Praying for Purpose.  It is sectioned off into 60 days worth of reading.  I still haven’t completed it even though it’s been long past 60 days when I started the book.  I pick it up, put it down, pick it up….you get the picture.

Well, this morning I picked it up.  And on this day, the subject is “How Do You Prioritize Your Roles and Goals?”  The author quotes someone saying “…if you don’t prioritize using God’s Spirit and his Word as your plumb line, you will lose your peace, feel like a failure, and end up doing nothing well.  And that is never God’s purpose….”

Good thoughts, way to get your head on straight and prioritize those goals, but I’m going to take it one step further.  I must not just use God’s Spirit and Word as my plumb line,  I must place my Lord God — Creator of the universe and those tiny sparkling fireflies, Savior and Lover of my soul — where He belongs, the holder of the plumb line.  He must be first, so that all the rest, including my family whom I hold so dear, fall in line.

And that is my firefly moment.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Empty Nest Blues

blogIMG_7546Thursday, 18 October 2007
I’m not exactly technologically sound, but I did finally figure out how to upload pictures from my camera onto my computer.  Ta-da!  I’m very proud of myself.   In a lot of my pictures are  three people who mean the world to me – my children.

To me, they are the best children any mom could ever ask for.  God truly blessed me when He gifted me with these three.

“Punky,” our oldest daughter, is smart, beautiful, goofy, an excellent writer, and loves to travel.  “Birdie,” our middle daughter, is smart, beautiful, compassionate, an actress and singer, and a joy to be around.  “Bud,” our son, is smart, handsome, funny, a whiz at math and science, and a good athlete.

We’re not a perfect family and we’ve had our ups and downs just like everyone does.  There have been arguments, fights, screaming matches, groundings, etc.  But these kids have turned into the most awesome young adults.  I take no credit and glory in that either — it’s definitely a God-thing!  He has truly worked wonders in each one of their lives and I am ever thankful to Him for that.

However, each one of these birdies has temporarily (for now, anyway) flown right out of mama’s nest.  Punky is on her own in another state; Birdie and Bud are both away at college.

What this means is…mama has a lot of time on her hands.  It used to be that mama was always in the car, meeting herself coming and going.  There were dance lessons, piano lessons, Girl Scout meetings, Cub Scout meetings, PTA meetings, volleyball practices, track & cross country practices, basketball, baseball and soccer practices and then more soccer practices, sports events, science fairs, sports tournaments, youth group meetings, chorus and band concerts, musicals, sports booster club meetings, honor society inductions, college visits, Christmas formal dance dresses and Prom dresses to buy and tuxes to rent, and then graduations to keep mama busy.

And now there’s an occasional college soccer game or cross country meet, but for the most part, there’s a job, laundry, dishes, housecleaning and watching hubby sleep on the couch.  Ho-hum…..

If you think I’m sad about the empty nest, you’re absolutely correct.  This house used to sing with young people’s voices and laughter and late-night game parties (Apples to Apples, Cranium, Twister, Jenga, you name it) and Dance Dance Revolution parties and Guitar Hero parties.  And now there’s just me, dear ol’ dad, and the cat silently watching TV.

There are some perks though – not so much laundry, a house that stays clean for a longer period of time, no messes, no smelly soccer socks and cleats strewn hither and yon, no mud in the car, smaller gasoline, electric and water bills, neat bedrooms, no backpacks or sports bags to trip over and then there is a lot of SILENCE…but it is definitely not as exciting around here anymore.

So Dad and I have to figure out what to do with ourselves, short of rocking our blues away on the front porch rockers.  There is a world of grown-up things out there to explore – museums, events, movies, libraries, maybe even a pro football game if we can afford tickets (two kids in college = no money).  So I’ll keep you posted.

©2007 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Comments (4)

An update?! Whoa!

I know what you and Dad should do… come visit me!!

10/19/2007 sunflower

“Y’all” is DEFINITELY much better than “yinz” or “yunz” or… whatever.

GUESS WHAT?! I’ll be home in SEVENTEEN DAYS!!!!

11/5/2007 sunflower

Here is the definition of “meme,” according to dictionary.com:   a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); “memes are the cultural counterpart of genes”
Hmm… alrighty, then! Whatever you say, dictionary.com

11/29/2007 sunflower

HELLO FROM MY FREAKIN AWESOME (AND ADORABLE) NEW LAPTOP!

Okay, now that THAT’S out-of-the-way 🙂 here we go:

1. Yep, my internet’s been working! Consistently! For like, the past week! This has never happened before; I’m not quite sure what to do with myself!

2. I just do, okay. I don’t like to talk about that period in my life… (just kidding)

3. Not very close at ALL. I used the zoom.

4. Sure, you can live at the beach, too! The more, the merrier!

5. Not baking  in 97 degree weather anymore! We’ve had a lot of rain lately from the hurricane… it’s been kind of nice, actually (although it’s still pretty humid)

8/27/2008 sunflower