5 Minute Way to Start to My Day

I have never written down resolutions. I often have positive intentions for change floating around my brain but I don’t generally want to commit to them because…

pressure!

And who needs more pressure !! It also seemed to have a year long commitment attached to it and that just seems too ….  long.

Some of those floating ideas are really expectations I imagine that others have of me.  (and if I told my husband what I imagined he expected, he would calmly and wisely reply “I reject that.” Because he knows much of it is not based in reality. This may sound dismissive but it has saved us from many arguments that are not based on anything true.

I realize that writing things down (or typing them out) helps me to clarify what is really going on. If I had to list some general resolutions (less commitment) I would say I want to be more intentional, more present, more grateful and leave space in my calendar to follow where God leads daily in my relationships. And leaving space on my calendar is so much better than the packed calendar I have strived for in the past. I have always loved a calendar. I have had weekly calendars and monthly sheets I created myself and hung by my computer. Now I have an app. But honestly, it only has appointments.

Many, many years ago (like over 20) my co-worker, Abdul, and I took a Franklin Covey management training class in San Francisco. I loved all the tools and books they handed out. It was full of organizational hope. A new beginning in an awesome planner (that we got for free! … well free to me, I’m sure our company paid for it). But honestly what I remember from this class is that Abdul didn’t go to lunch with me. It was Ramadan and he fasted from dawn until sundown!  For . A.  Month!  This was a completely new idea to me. I was fascinated and impressed with his dedication. Now that’s a resolution with commitment!!

Fasting isn’t one of the thoughts floating around in my brain (although I do have some fitness wishes) but routine is floating. And thinking back to my planner, I think I could benefit from writing down some goals. And if they were flexible daily goals … it might just work.  Sooo…. here is where I am going with this …..

Today, I listened to a Facebook live video by Nicole Unice. She is the author of the book I read with my Moms group in the fall and I had the privilege of meeting her in December. She was talking about resolutions and an idea she got from “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Timothy Ferriss & Arnold Schwarzenegger. It immediately resonated with me. I took notes and created a worksheet. This is going to be my resolution … to complete this worksheet each  morning. (Not in my first 5 minutes… I tried something like that last year … but my first 5 are pretty sleepy. I need eye drops, coffee, my people out the door and then my readers on).

Here is the idea:

3 for 3  in 5 minutes    ——->     3 categories with 3 bullets each

  1. Today I am grateful for:

  2. 3 things I want to accomplish today:

  3. Who I am praying for today:

Yes…. this is all me!! gratitude, purpose and prayer!!!

Woo Hoo! I am so excited to start this tomorrow! Want to join me? I’d love to share this and be accountable!  email me if you want me to send you the word doc.

 

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Update: This idea has quite a few followers. I have created a Facebook closed group for encouragement and accountability. We’d love to have you if you are interested. You can search for “5 Minute Way to Start My Day” and request to be added.

Facebook accountability group

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Finding water “under the sun”

I have just begun reading the Book of Ecclesiastes along with the “Good Morning Girls” blog.

Before I started, I had no idea what this book of the bible was about. And although I am committed to reading the bible, I must admit that I get intimidated by the Old Testament. And heck…I was even intimidated spelling Ecclesiastes!

But I know that God will you use the bible to teach me. Even through unfamiliar things.

Last week, my friend Beth Reed talked about rest. I thought I would be totally good with this topic because I love to rest!!  NAPS are one of my specialties!!  But I got a new perspective on REST and what these verses mean….

““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.””

Matthew 11:28-30


God wants us to come to Him by reading His Word, the Bible, and he will refresh us with the Living Water.

He will carry our burden.

We may not get physical rest in that moment (or that season) but we can rest our minds and souls !!!

So back to the Old Testament I go…to be refreshed

Another friend of mine, Amy Hale, posted this to Facebook:

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Now I was totally “IN” and getting excited because the current state of our world seems truly confusing and frustrating.

This week we started in the first chapter {you may be thinking: duh!  but last week we did a bit of history digging into the author, Solomon}  Here is a recap that I LOVE from doodlethroughthebible.com  (You can even color the page yourself 🙂

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This was the discussion question I was left to ponder as closed my bible this morning.

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I spent the day with a “Moms of Teens” and fellow Navy Wife friend, Jennifer. This funny, humble, brave woman is currently going through chemo for breast cancer.  We went to the West clinic today to get her some IV fluids because of her low BP.

I believe we both had a good perspective. In this environment, where so many people are faced with a potentially deadly disease, and are enduring painful and tedious treatments, it seems imperative to have hope of the things “above the sun”.

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Jennifer and I discussed her current medical updates (like a shrinking tumor) and her treatment side effects (you can’t miss her newly bald head). We also chatted about our families. It wasn’t a talk about heavenly things but with a confidence in our heavenly Father and our minds aware of Him.

{ #aimup and arrow symbols are reminders to me of where to set my mind. It was a theme from a retreat several years ago and themes, symbols, artwork, even jewelry and clothes, etc.  help my brain to be saturated … this one is now ingrained in me!  } 

We waited much longer than last time for her to be called back to the nurses area. We considered coloring, (I brought my pencils and sheets) but it wasn’t sounding good to Jen today.   My sweet, brave friend was tired. But at the same time radiating a peace and a sense of gratitude. I have been recording video blogs and pasting them in our Facebook group this year. {my teen daughter informed me that that is called Vlogging. And honestly, it is easier for me to talk than to type!!} And we talked about recording a Vlog for Jennifer to share her thanks to the Moms of Teens group for their support, prayers and meals. She truly has a heart of gratitude.
We took a walk out on the garden terrace for a change of scenery  {Jen brought her pager with her… they have really cool pagers that light up and tell you where to go when they are ready for you.}  It was a HOT, sunny day and the terrace was deserted except for the wilted flowers. Jennifer recognized their weary state and said they needed water. I looked around behind the planters and found a hose. Jen was tired but perked up when I handed her the nozzle.

She watered the parched land.

And we recorded her gratitude Vlog.


It reminded me:

We have access to the Living Water.

He will quench our thirst in the dry and hot land of temporary things under the sun.

 

 

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A letter to Moms of High School Seniors

NOTE: This post has been updated several times as I think of things to add 🙂

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Moms of High School Seniors,

It has been a year since I was in your shoes. The year of decisions and “lasts” is so emotional. For the senior and the parents. This year has been a year of transition and adjustment but so much easier on my heart.

I have been praying for each of you. I know that some of you were awaiting the April 1st college deadline. It can be a hard day if your senior gets some “no’s” and it also puts an end to the possible decision procrastination. I have been using these scriptures to pray for your senior. I will add to this post with more encouragement for you as Mamas soon. But today I have it on my heart for your seniors and their decisions and emotions.

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You Are Loved.

xo,   Melissa

P.S. I chose the cover photo because 1. bridges symbolize transition. 2. My sonimage is walking ahead on his own which symbolizes that this is our senior’s decision. 3. when faced with big decisions or emotions, I have found that mind clearing, solitary activities are helpful. I generally choose a nap. But my senior liked to swim in the ocean or walk outdoors with music in his headphones.

 


 

Actually…here is some encouragement for you…

This book was really good. The except I copied here has some encouraging biblical examples of women that faced change.

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——>  here’s another option for deep thoughts …

 

Oh shoot … Just when I was trying to be funny …. Now I’m feeling emotional looking at these little backsides and thinking of mine being that age … Like yesterday!

Such is the roller coaster ride of Motherhood.  Enjoy the ride. Even when your tummy feels funny with anticipation.  Let go of the bar, raise your hands and … Let your emotions out. 😳😁😜😫😢😭😀🤑😍


 

Last year this time, I was planning for graduation. Below is a link to what I came up with for an announcement. I had two versions. One that invited people to a BBQ and one for out of town friends.

I do not few announcements as requests for gifts but merely celebrating the student and this rite of passage. People like to celebrate with one another.

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

This is how I decided who to send the cards to… I looked at my contacts and my Christmas card list and thought about “who is in the Jack fan club?” I later wished I had thought of a few other people. like his piano teacher, Mrs. Burnside. As for local friends of ours, I used this test “If Jack ran into them at Kroger, would he say hi to them?”  This kept me from just inviting my friends 🙂     Side note: Jack is pretty friendly with adults. If you have a shy child, this test may not work.

A link to Jack’s graduation announcement from Shutterfly

 


This year in our Hope Moms of Teens group, we had 7 Moms with graduating Seniors.

We planned a special time for them at our end of year luncheon.

Below is the prayer (by Angie Coleman)  and hand-crafted gift (by Tracey Simpson) that we presented to them.

 

Dear precious father,

I ask that you be with these moms as they enter a new season with their teens. Show your face to them as they let go… Give them the peace that comes from trusting you Lord — our savior and gracious father. How precious these moms are to you and oh how precious these children are too. What a wonderful and amazing God we serve, trust and love completely.
Heavenly father, please be with these graduating seniors as they go where they do not know.

As they seek to grow in knowledge and in their life, we pray that they grow in their faith.

As they set out to conquer the world, we pray that they conquer their fears through trust in you.

As they strive to find their place, we pray that they find YOU.

Please go with them where we cannot, protect them when we cannot, and bring them safely home to us to visit a lot.

Amen

The Senior Moms at the Luncheon:

 

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Happy Easter

 

A quick post to wish everyone a Happy Easter. It is different for us this year with Jack being in college. No Easter egg hunting at our house. No family photo. But Easter isn’t about all that anyway. It is about celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.

So today, we focus on that fact that He Is Risen!   The Stone has rolled away. We had a wonderful celebration at church today. Our Pastor spoke about it in a new way …  The stone was not removed to let Jesus out…. The Stone was removed to let us in.

Alleluia!!

 

Easter Monday update:

A Mom in our Hope Moms of Teens group had her baby on Easter! Congratulations to Carey and Nathan and big brothers Christian and Max on the precious addition to your family, Maverick Dean. I had the pleasure of spending some time with this family at the hospital. Watching the older boys be so tender filled my heart.

And of course I am delighted that Maverick is going to come to our MOTs class with his Mama. I promise he won’t be a distraction 😉   Or at least not a bad distraction.


 

Another update (cause I got the photo on Easter Monday): Jack spent his Easter weekend in Virginia Beach with his fraternity brothers. They travelled for their spring formal.

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I did get some egg hunting photos, but they were of a friend’s grandchildren! So cute!

 

I have had some other new photo opportunities. Last weekend, I covered a couples’ wedding shower for some friends from church. So fun to celebrate and capture the event.

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We also had unusual spring break with Jack and Katie having different weeks off.

Jack and Sean had a ski retreat in Colorado.

 

Katie had a 16th birthday adventure with Grammy and Grandpa Jim in Hawaii!

She flew there and back by herself with no problems. She handled the 4 hours in the Honolulu airport waiting for the Denver flight. Starbucks and napping in the sunshine (with her bags looped around her). And had an amazing adventure.

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 I had a stay cation and some quality time with each of my peeps!

Enjoying the beautiful weather of spring.

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I bought myself some staycation souvenirs 🙂

An adorable bunny and a bee from my artist friend at What’s Inside Designs.

 

 


 

And our last night, Sean and I went to see Billy Joel in concert. It was awesome. A fun night of singing along with the Piano Man.

 

 

 

Speaking my birthday language

…. cause I know you want to speak my language on my birthday, right??!

The past few weeks I have been reading the 5 Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman. It has me thinking about the ways we give and receive love. The book defines the languages as: Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. They all sound good to me 😉  But some really fill my love tank up more than others.

Words of Affirmation comes first for me, then Acts of Service and Quality Time. I like physical touch and gifts but they don’t resonate with my heart to the same level.

So as I reflect on some of the extra special moments of this 49th birthday, I realize it is in sync with my language. And some of the littlest things mean the most.

  1. My husband waiting patiently with the car running in the driveway while I painted my nails blue for the Grizzlies basketball game. Cause you know, they can dry while we drive downtown but I need to paint in a still car with my belt already fastened! My Long-suffering husband usually likes to be at the game in his seat before tipoff. For me today, he said the 4th quarter would even be fine.
  2. Katie making me strawberry cupcakes yesterday so they would be ready for breakfast time today. I love cake and coffee.
  3. It was MLK day and Sean and Katie were home to spend the day with me. And that we could sleep in and go to the Grizzlies game. (and bonus…they won)
  4. Katie hugging me tighter than usual (physical touch isn’t her thing) and making me laugh when I didn’t let go and she said “don’t over do it” with a smile in her voice.
  5. A text from my Dad telling me it was 10 degrees in Pittsburgh today just like it was the day I was born.
  6. Calls, texts and facebook posts from near and far, new and old, friends and family. (Oh how I love words…any kind really) … And I got a video singing text from the Angel Street choir girls. That was a first!
  7. Sean and Katie agreeing to any photos I wanted… even of my hot pretzel! I love those things! We used to get them at snack time in elementary school for 25cents. And in college from the “trucks”.   And driving down to the river before dinner so I could take some pics. Oh and me taking pics of the food and drinks at Flight restaurant. Everything comes in sample sizes of 3. How cute is that? Even a “flight” of sprite! Oh and the delicious “flight” of 3 desserts with candles in it!!
  8. A memory my Mom shared about her beloved Aunt De, (who was a nun and teacher and took care of babies) telling her that she was passing on the caring of babies to my Mom when my Mom first became a Grandmother. I am not a grandmother and don’t intend to be one anytime soon but I have recently embraced this stage in womanhood where I feel called to love on young Moms and their babies.
  9. I wasn’t sad that Jack wasn’t here. I missed him but I am at peace that he is where he is thriving. Sean conferenced him in to the singing this morning.
  10. The diverse city of Memphis where I feel at home now and seeing the sun setting over the Mississippi was a beautiful hug from God.
  11. Medicine for the things that ail me. Currently on Antibiotics for Lyme disease and steroids for a possible neck issue that is causing arm tingling. But I’m really not worried and just grateful for this day the Lord has blessed me with.  (And by the way… it is thanks to the steroids that I am still wide awake at almost midnight.)

 

I didn’t set out to do a top 10 (good thing cause I just added #11 when I went to take my bedtime drugs)  but that seems like a good place to stop as it is about to be the day after my birthday!

I said I loved words. And recording them. And oh yea…I need a photo or a collage to feel complete!

Goodnight, 49th birthday!

 

Now it’s the day after my birthday and I just had to post 2 of the cards I received. One made me laugh hard and I thought it was ironic that I was just talking about my Great Aunt the nun.

The second one was from my son and as his “gift” to me, he filled out the love languages quiz! Perfect!! And from the look of the cleaning and cooking Mom in the card, I’m guessing Acts of Service is going to rank highly.

 

No longer an unglued skier

I am currently on a car trip to West Virginia and typing on my phone. We are headed to Snowshoe mountain with my husband’s family. This is our 5th family ski trip. (this one may only be a hiking trip if the weather doesn’t get colder 😉

I am reminded of the fears associated with the 1st trip.
As the trip drew closer, I became more and more anxious. One evening I broke down in tears at the dinner table. My family was simply talking about their excitement for the trip and details about the slopes.

When they noticed my tears, they started to try to figure me out. {good luck} Are you afraid of the lift heights? NO!  Are you afraid you will get hurt?  NO!!!!

The truth was that I didn’t know why I was feeling panicky and I came UNGLUED!! In a nasty tantrum. And their attempt to fix me caused me to lash out at those dearest to me.

I retreated upstairs saying I had to go to the bathroom (which is often the case when I am anxious … sorry if that is TMI … Just trying to get real here.)

I cried out to the Lord. I laid down on our bed and got out my nightstand journal (which isn’t a gratitude journal but a despair journal that I am so grateful for).
As I worked through my emotions and prayed that God would ‘reveal and heal’ …

A scary prayer but worth it.

God revealed the root of my fear:

*not being good enough

* being abandoned by my family.

Old wounds. Yep… Oldies but goodies.

But once they are revealed, God is faithful to heal my wounds once again.

God reminded me:

He is sufficient.

He will never abandon me.
… And my fear was lifted. My attitude adjusted.
And my family witnessed the transformation.
Amen!

{And we had a great vacation. And a beautiful sunrise on the way home}

A “Wonder” full Gift

 

Shepherds     Angels    The Lord     Good News     Joy    Savior    Messiah    Baby    Glory    God   Praise    Peace

Luke 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

I read this passage today and was filled with wonder,

Yes, WONDER

once again at the message. Not only does it contain some of my favorite words and images:

Shepherds, Angels, The Lord, Good News, Joy, Savior, Messiah, Baby, Glory, God, Praise, Peace

And a truth I need to be reminded of:

“Do not be afraid”

But most amazingly …  the incredible good news that our Savior, the Messiah, the Lord, was humbly born as a human on earth.  Oh, and the hope we have of being saved by grace through Him.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)   ” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.”


May we be filled with childlike wonder and give glory to God for His incredible Christmas gift!

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Crying over unspilled milk

Crying over unspilled milk

This morning has been unusual. Katie needed a ride to school so I was up early and dressed {well, sort of, if you count lounge pants a sweatshirt and flip flops} I had a to-go-cup of coffee but no breakfast. I hadn’t checked my calendar but I knew it was Friday {cause everyone always knows when it is Friday, right!) and I have been trying to get to my Moms in Prayer meeting at 8:15 am on time lately… one key to that is not going back to sleep after everyone leaves. {yes, I do that! but the time change has helped}. I was excited to see the sunrise shining brightly and burning off the morning fog as we drove to school. My mood was joyful.

After drop off, I did an unheard of thing…I went grocery shopping at 6:45am. We had just run out of half and half and we have been out of milk for a few days. A couple of shocking truths for our household! The first is that I have switched to half and half instead of Coffee-mate Fat Free French Vanilla creamer {my strange addiction for as long as I can remember}. And I believe this is the first time in 19 years that we haven’t had milk in the fridge for more than a few hours. But things have changed since our “milkman” went to college.

So there I was walking through the Kroger when my phone rang and Sean reminded me that it was our son’s birthday and he had just called and woken him up 🙂 I said I would text him and call him later after his classes. I don’t know if it was the realization that I had forgotten what day it was, the fact that I had not made pancakes to put a candle in this year {and wasn’t going to AND I was hungry by now}, or the strange realization that so many things have changed this season but when I pushed my cart to the side to text Jack a cake photo {cause that’s what I do on birthdays} I looked up to see the milk fridge staring at me. I was all alone with this large, orderly, cold, glass wall full of milk. And I really wanted to buy Jack some milk and pour him a glass to go with his “cake”. A sadness washed over me. Alone in the milk aisle. My eyes filled with tears. But my mouth curled up in a smile. The bittersweet moments of Motherhood once again.

I acknowledged my grief in that moment and I felt God’s comfort. A promise of God’s comforting grace that I learned 2 years ago. Matthew 5:4.

And then, I took a photo of the milk and texted it to Jack to go with his virtual cake photo. So much has changed for him the past fews months and I pray he will be blessed with God’s comfort in his times of need.

It is raining in my house but It Is Well

Good Morning. It is another rainy day and it is drizzling…. IN my family room!! But some how that doesn’t cause me any stress. Possibly because I called my husband (who is traveling for work) and he is on top of it. Quite the opposite of my restless, lonely, rainy morning yesterday.  Problems that can be passed off or shared with someone else are so much better, right?

However, my lesson yesterday, was to remember that God is always there to listen to my burdens and and bear my worries even if the problem is still dripping on my head. 

I shared my yesterday morning thoughts with my Moms of Teens group and it spoke into several hearts.  So I am simply adding it here in case someone out there needs it today.  And cause it is still raining in Memphis!

I was in a bit of the rainy Monday morning home alone blues funk today. And my mind was focused on some parenting challenges and a few old wounds that surfaced as I prayed about the the Hot Topics in this week’s chapter. (Sex, Dating and curfews, Drinking and drugs, Grades, Driving, Money,
Media (internet, TV, movies, music))

I am so grateful that God can heal and soothe my worried soul. I should go to Him first!!

But this morning I went on social media first. And I saimagew that Jill Dyson sang one of “my” songs yesterday at Hope and I missed it. (I didn’t write it or anything, it just spoke to me in a hard place a few months ago).

I went on YouTube to find the song and was hopeful that praise and worship would help my funk. What I came across first was the story of the song. I love to hear people’s stories. (One of the things I love about our group). And then I turned up the music and worshipped! The funk started to lift a bit. And then I remembered the verse from this week’s chapter (Proverbs 1:7) and was prompted to open the bible and seek wisdom and instruction. My funk lifted a little more. And then I took this photo to share with you.

Proverbs 1 7

I’m still in my jammies at 1:30pm …. but it is well with my soul.  

It is well with my soul.


Here are links to the song and story if you have time to watch it:

It Is Well:  Song Story  // Kristene DiMarco 

It Is Well  // Kristene DiMarco // You Make Me Brave


I am adding a copy of a prior blog and Facebook post if you want to read about how this song impacted me in August when Jack left for college:

I hope everyone’s teens are settled into the new school year.  Personally, I have been fairly preoccupied with my oldest heading off to college. It was very emotional in the weeks leading up to the good-bye but on the morning that he left I was blessed with peace. I went to the Moms in Prayer kickoff brunch and was surrounded by praying Moms (some from our group, too 🙂 Jill Dyson lead worship and she sang “It is well with my soul”, and it was the perfect explanation of my state … it is well with my soul.

Facebook post:

Thank you, Lord! This was the perfect place for me to be today. I have tears now as I rewatch this broadcast. I’m thankful for my loving prayerful friends that have covered me and my son in this season. And thank you to my amazingly talented friend, Jill Dyson, that uses her musical talents for God’s glory. This time of worship meant so much to my soul. And I’m thankful for this new social media, Periscope, that allowed me to broadcast and record this today. I believe the link is available for 24 hours.Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 4.40.07 PM

Shooting stars

I read an interesting piece of news on Facebook (cause, sadly, it is one of my main sources of “news”). Here’s what it said “Everybody stop what you’re doing and go and sit outside and look up at the sky for a good half hour there’s a great meteor show” …. okay that’s not really news but a bossy friend in Williamsburg, VA telling me what to do in Germantown, TN!

But I obeyed. My husband and my high school daughter were asleep (cause they have alarm clocks set to 5:30am!!) My 16-days-until-he-goes-to-college son was on the couch on his phone. He just got home from a long neighborhood walk with his girlfriend and was not interested in watching for falling stars with his Mom.

I went out back and stretched out on the lounge chair. It was a beautiful night with rare low humidity. I saw stars and heard crickets. I let my eyes adjust to the dark and searched for movement. All was still until the UFO’s, I mean Fedex planes started to parade across the sky every 2.5 minutes. I knew our airport was busy at night but I have honestly never noticed the activity in the sky. Probably because I’m inside in my jammies at 11:00.

I watched but no shooting stars. I decided to put on tennis shoes and go for a walk for better luck. I once again attempted to lore my son out the door. No luck. He has preferred to go alone this summer or with his girlfriend. From all my studying of teen behavior, this was normal. Separation from parents.  He was my walking buddy for many years. In times of stress and anxiety, I often get nauseous and full of nervous energy. The easiest solution for me was to walk outside. My son would usually go with me and it has been an amazing silver lining to my anxiety. We talked a lot. Mostly ordinary or random conversations but it built a great relationship. It may be what I miss the most when he moves out. In fact, the kids think we need a dog to walk me!!

It’s hard to imagine our family without Jack under the roof. As I walked alone last night, I was hopeful as my eyes scanned the heavens. Hopeful that I would see a shooting star. Hopeful that we could all handle this transition.

I returned to the backyard because I didn’t feel comfortable walking alone late at night. I was peaceful but also aware of feeling alone. Wishing my husband was awake. I was intentional in trying to be comfortable with stillness and quiet. Not praying per se but just being still in God’s presence.

And then I saw the streak of light…

……a falling star!

It filled me with joy. The speed with which it moved and disappeared surprised me.

In the blink of an eye! Just like my son’s time as a child under our roof.

And then, I saw another one. It went a different direction. I’ll name that one Katie!

I’ve heard it said that you can wish upon a star, actually a disney tune is playing in my head now. I don’t remember actually doing it. And I never really liked the pressure of coming up with a wish and keeping it a secret when you would blow out your birthday candles…so no wishing on stars.

I did post on Facebook that I made a wish and I used the shooting star emoticon for the first time. (everyone knows that everything on Facebook isn’t completely truthful, right?)   The prayers and wishes I have for my children and my husband are hard to boil down to one line. And for myself, I am wishing to stay in the moment and experience life as it comes (okay, and a little wishing I could go back in time and snuggle my babies).

I went back in the house and took a moment to be grateful and content that we were all under one roof tonight. And that we would continue to be under the same heavenly sky.

I did not bring my camera outside but here is a pic that my bossy, I mean, inspiring friend in VA posted.

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This morning I read this old blog post on … where else… Facebook. It is a great description of a lot of my feelings by I Mom who has been where I am. AND she used star metaphors!!

Saying Goodbye To My Kids Is Not Nothing!
by Beverly Beckham • September 21, 2014   betterafter50.com
I wasn’t wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn’t the end of the world when first one child, then another, and then the last packed their bags and left for college.

But it was the end of something. “Can you pick me up, Mom?” “What’s for dinner?” “What do you think?”

I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.

And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.

And then they were gone, one after the other.

“They’ll be back,” my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals — not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.

Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend’s. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. “How was school?” answered for years in too much detail. “And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . .” Then hardly answered at all.

Always, knowing his friends.

Her favorite show.

What he had for breakfast.

What she wore to school.

What he thinks.

How she feels.

My friend Beth’s twin girls left for Roger Williams yesterday. They are her fourth and fifth children. She’s been down this road three times before. You’d think it would get easier.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do without them,” she has said every day for months.

And I have said nothing, because, really, what is there to say?

A chapter ends. Another chapter begins. One door closes and another door opens. The best thing a parent can give their child is wings. I read all these things when my children left home and thought then what I think now: What do these words mean?

Eighteen years isn’t a chapter in anyone’s life. It’s a whole book, and that book is ending and what comes next is connected to, but different from, everything that has gone before.

Before was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Before was feeding and changing and teaching and comforting and guiding and disciplining, everything hands-on. Now?

Now the kids are young adults and on their own and the parents are on the periphery, and it’s not just a chapter change. It’s a sea change.

As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they’re in every room in your head and in your heart.

As for the wings analogy? It’s sweet. But children are not birds. Parents don’t let them go and build another nest and have all new offspring next year.

Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that’s what going to college is. It’s goodbye.

It’s not a death. And it’s not a tragedy.

But it’s not nothing, either.

To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.

To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.

The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.

Life does go on.

“Can you give me a ride to the mall?” “Mom, make him stop!” I don’t miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine.