Category Archives: Empty Nest

How it went down <3

So here was the guest list.

And we took multiple pictures to get at least one where everyone was facing in the right direction. Let me just say Rocco, Zach and Rachel never moved from picture to picture but the rest of the cast must have thought I was taking a video.

Clicking through the pictures is like a flip book cartoon…hilarious.

Besides eating our weight in turkey and carbs…

we watched a smidgen of Elmo…

did some crafts…

which some people took to a whole different level…

fell more in love…

took selfies on mom’s camera when she wasn’t looking…

and walked off a little bit of our pumpkin pie…


All in all…

Best. Day. Ever.

Now it’s time to deck the halls so have a blessed weekend and I will see you on Monday




How it is supposed to be with God <3

PC Rachel Maxwell <3

Rachel sent me this sweet picture yesterday of how nap time ended up for this posse.

Joel is transitioning from his crib to the big boy bed and he is also an escape artist, so he joined his mommy and little sis on the couch for a cartoon and ended up succumbing to his sleepy side.

He has adapted well to sharing his baby status with our little miracle surprise and certainly does love his mommy right now.

He rarely misses an opportunity to snuggle up next to her when he is needing some hugs.

I told Rachel he helps me understand what David was saying  in Psalm 131.

A Song of Ascents, listen to the attitude of the heart of this King of Israel…

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. verse 1 &2

Joel is the picture of this.

His mommy is no longer needed for his nourishment but his little soul needs her nearness intermittently throughout the day.

Sometimes when he bumps his head.

Sometimes when he is tired or frustrated.

and sometimes….

just because.

In the hustle and bustle of the festivities we are entering…we will have moments when we need to assume the position of a weaned child.

Moments when we need to say…

we are not proud or haughty….

we do not need to engage in every table discussion and Black Friday melee to save a bundle on that Christmas list.

We don’t need to have all the answers to our helpful guests about what we want to do with the leftovers that are now spilling out of the refrigerator and do we wash the unused silverware or put back in the drawer?

We can choose in the frantic moments when we are stretched thin and out of courtesy, tact and answers…to take a deep breath and rest against our Father.

Wanting nothing more than to just simply lean onto Him and draw comfort and solace in Him.

Be blessed as you do this thing well for His glory – whatever your holiday looks like – and remember to tell your soul to rest <3

As we gather around the table <3

As I make the first of several grocery lists to prepare for Thanksgiving Day dinner, I am mindful of some ways that our traditional fare has changed over the years.

We have learned to work around a variety of dietary adjustments in our family and as I was thinking about what that has meant for me as the mom, I thought perhaps it would be helpful to those of you who have had to learn to realign the way you cook for loved ones and offer some thoughts about how we can make this less uncomfortable for them as they gather around our tables.

These are not well researched tips.

They are just things I have learned through trial and error and talking to people about what they can and cannot eat and how we can make them feel less singled out in the process.

Asking ahead is one great way to determine if there are any special diet needs, particularly if you are having guests around the table who are first time visitors.

If one of your guests is bringing someone who has not been to your home for a meal, just ask them if his or her friend has any allergies or preferences.

For someone in your family who has developed food allergies, you can ask for a couple of their current favorite recipes and add those to the spread.

Our family has learned to add some new dishes that have become year round go-to’s through just asking this simple question.

Since gluten and dairy are high on the list of problem foods for many people, try to have multiple dishes that do not have either of these ingredients.

Often we throw in one thing that we know our guests can eat, but think of how limiting it is for them when your loved one  has only a vegetable tray to snack on as you set out a variety of appetizers.

There are so many great websites with ideas for everything from hors d’oeuvres to desserts  that are both gluten and dairy free.

Researching and providing a nice variety for all to select from is just a kind and thoughtful gesture that will make a world of difference to someone who has restrictions.

You can rethink dishes and sometimes choose to sacrifice tradition over making your guest feel left out.

For example, oven browned potatoes with olive oil can be substituted for the traditional mashed and I have yet to hear many complaints. Or offer a dairy/gluten free sweet potato dish alongside the usual mashed potatoes.

I also try to make several different vegetable dishes and salads, which is really healthier in the long run for all of us.

When I make desserts, I sometimes adapt if possible by substituting an alternative flour and lactose free products and we actually have two gluten/dairy free cookie recipes that are so popular with everyone I have to double the batch.

I also will have several selections, some that are gluten/dairy free and some not.

I have gaffed this next tip enough that I cringe thinking about the times I made a big announcement to the group at large about which dishes were peanut free or dairy free or whatever needed to be free for one or two people and this is just not cool.

There are a couple of ways around this.

One is to make cute signs for everything and identify the availability of items to those with restrictions…an example being “Mashed Potatoes with Almond Milk” and “Full on Mac and Cheese”…ok maybe not the fanciest way, but you get the idea.

Another simple way is to just quietly let any guests know that either all food is fine or to steer clear of this or that dish.

There is also a factor that we often forget about.

Even children who have dietary restrictions like to feel autonomous about their food choices.

Most people with issues will typically ask if they are in doubt and sometimes if the allergy is not life-threatening, they may actually want to risk the unpleasant side effects to just enjoy an old favorite.

So making a fuss if your dairy/gluten free adult child takes a nibble of the cheesy potatoes they loved in their youth is not what they need on that special day of family gathering.

Last of all, as the keeper of traditions in the kitchen area, I am particularly sensitive to those in our family who can no longer partake NOT being made to feel like they have interrupted customary dishes.

We still put out the Monkey Bread and Egg and Cheese Casserole on Christmas morning, but we have added a delicious crustless egg quiche with spinach and tomato and a sprinkling of goat cheese.

The important thing is not what is on the table, but who is gathered around it and making each person feel welcomed and prepared for.

By taking a little extra time to think of a menu that makes everyone sense that their being there was something you anticipated and planned for, food truly can be a love language for all your guests.

Be blessed with a sweet weekend…even if you are watching your intake of sugar….and I will see you on Monday <3



When you just can’t enter the fast lane

Anyone else finding it a little hard to believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week???

Me too.

On Tuesday I made a day trip down to visit Sarah. I hit the city at just the right time because there was not much traffic at all on the highway.

Which is great for me because it can feel like you stumbled onto the track at Daytona at times; and even with the few cars that were zooming around me, I was feeling a bit nervous and had to give myself numerous pep talks.

At one point, I was holding steady in the lane I needed to be in for an upcoming turn (as in I would need to exit a good 4 miles on down the road, but changing lanes is not my thing); when I saw a car coming up the entrance ramp to my right. It was moving slowly which I interpreted to mean another timid driver such as myself.

I slowed a little to make room for the car to enter, but it just kept creeping along.

Talking to the driver as if we were wearing headsets to allow for auto to auto communication, I began cheering him on….

Come on…just speed up a little…you can make it. I’m slowing down for you, just accelerate man and get on this crazy train.

Apparently he had his earphones turned off because he just kept slowing down at the same rate I was decelerating.

Finally it was clear that one of us was going to have to speed up, so I shouted my apologies that he hadn’t gotten the memo and sped ahead of him.

As I looked behind, I noticed that he was not really going much faster and then I took in the condition of his car.

It was an older vehicle and the front end looked like it had been bashed a time or two too many.

Puffs of blackish smoke wafted behind it.

I realized, it simply could not go that fast even if given the best of opportunities and all the breaks and encouragement it needed.

And I thought as I drove how sometimes we are like that car. Or at least I am.

The “holidays” are beautiful and wonderful and exciting. We have all kinds of opportunities and encouragement from friends to join in the festivities.

But we have some stuff that is weighing us down.

Changes in our finances, relationships, circumstances can leave us feeling a bit like that old beater car chugging along and trying to enter into the flow of those who are seemingly unhindered in this season.

Perhaps today we can examine our hearts and ponder which “car” we are as 2017 winds to a close.

Are we zooming along, giddy with the abundance of blessings flowing or are we limping up the ramp to the holidays with some heaviness in our hearts.

And then let’s take it a step further and look around us at our fellow travelers.

How can we quiet ourselves and step away from our busy-ness to extend a gentle hug to one who is struggling?


How can we develop an openness to find the JOY of this season by trusting God with our circumstances and asking Him how we can embrace the celebrations just as we happen to be this particular year?

It is, as always, a pleasure to be traveling this journey with each of you.

Forgive me if I have, in moments of personal happiness, mowed you over with my abundance.

And thank you, most tenderly, for the times you have helped me to ease back into the flow of life when I have experienced set backs.

Be blessed today to know that whatever your circumstances are, you are loved and prayed over even as you finish reading this <3

Thursday Thoughts <3

It is finally beginning to look and feel like Fall here and yet last night on my after work run, I noticed a few houses along the way with Christmas lights shining through the windows.

I confess we are not early decorators here at the Reimer house. I understand some have to because of busy schedules getting even busier once the Thanksgiving table is cleared, but I always like the idea of waiting for Advent to officially begin the process. **apologies to those who receive the newsletter version of this because I totally missed the edit of that last sentence before hitting send…***

I am reminded of the stories my mom would tell me about her childhood.

There was none of this redoing of houses in evergreen and holiday knick-knacks. Born to a poor family and in the midst of the Depression, they did things more simply.

Oh they had a tree. Santa brought it on Christmas Eve and set it up in the living room while the children slept. It was small and had candles and in their stockings were a few pieces of candy and the most treasured and expensive item of all, an orange. Such a luxury in the month of December to them.

One year her dad had made a child size table and cupboard out of the crates from his grocery store. Sadly the cupboard did not survive the years, but the table and chairs are still safely tucked in our basement.

I don’t know why I share this with you today, except it is what is on my heart.

I guess we just need to remember that sometimes we have a tendency to get carried away and we think bigger is better and more is the way to go.

And yet those simple gestures of love expressed in the middle of the hardest of family times impacted my mom and now I treasure the legacy of her memories.

Our church recently had a sermon and then handed out cards at the end. One side has a picturesque scene of a lake and some hills and the words “Be Still” in lovely script along the bottom.

On the back are two typed message prompts:

I will trust God about:

I will be still before God in the midst of these circumstances:

Just as each of us will make decisions about how we celebrate, shop, cook, entertain in the season that is rolling out before us, we have the option each day to choose to trust God about the things we are overwhelmed with and to be still before Him as we make our way through them.

So take a deep breath…and a moment…and think about how you would fill in the blanks.

One more time…

I will trust God about….

I will be still before God in the midst of these circumstances…..

Blessings on you this week <3