Category Archives: Empty Nest

How are you doing?

I have personally experienced a mid-Covid breakdown this week and have talked to several others who would say amen…the struggle is real. 

Maybe it’s the increased heat and humidity. 

Maybe it’s just too many months since the shock factor when we were told we had 24 hours to circle the wagons, stock up on supplies…good luck if you wanted toilet paper…and life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. 

Maybe it’s that the good feeling of “we are all in this together” has been blown to smithereens as the gloves have come off and we are more polarized than ever in these “united” states. 

Maybe it’s that the places where we used to go when we were feeling the way we are feeling are no longer the places that bring us comfort but just add to the strangeness. 

And maybe it’s that all of this has brought out the startling truth that, speaking for myself here, the comforts and “blessings” of this life I now refer to as normal, were far too important to me. 

Maybe the things that I considered significant inconveniences were actually just tiny blips on the radar screen of life on planet earth. 

All I know is on Sunday we went to big church.

In our masks.

Appropriately social distanced.

I sat down in the pew and looked around me and the tears started. As a side note, crying in a mask is about as comfortable as sneezing in one is. But I couldn’t stop the water fall. 

I didn’t even miss singing because I usually don’t sing in church. I have a range of about 5 notes so I kind of speak the words and let my spirit ride on the music and please don’t tell me about how God doesn’t care and He loves my voice. He hears my voice a lot and He hears me sing by myself, but I was raised by a man who could play the piano by ear and while I can’t carry a tune, I am highly able to appreciate good music and cringe at bad music and when I know I am not hitting the notes correctly and someone who is gifted to do so is, I just let them do their thing while I worship in my spirit.

So I just listened and hummed and spoke the words and I was almost free of the tears until we hit the part in the song that says…when darkness hides His lovely face …and it was too close to home. 

All of a sudden I could picture God wearing a mask that covers His face. 

And I thought how like Him to go through the same stuff we are going through.

Darkness covering His lovely face. 

The tears fell because in the midst of all of this season, at times I have felt the disconnect from community to blur into a sense of disconnect from God. 

And what does the song declare further? 

When I can’t see His face…I will rest…REST…on His unchanging grace.*

In the midst of daily changes in facts reported, allegations made, theories bandied about – His grace has not changed. 

No matter what roller coaster my emotions may ride or the lives around me that I love that are being rocked back and forth by decisions that affect all of us and yet we have absolutely zero control over…He is the anchor that remains unmoved. 

I pray you are holding up if this has gone on too long for you. Short of a miracle, we have a ways to go.

If you find yourself having a meltdown every now and again, remember that you are held. Tight and firm and safe in the unchanging love of God. Maybe google the song below and sing along with the lyrics. Let them fill you with the Hope of Christ again <3

Grace. Amazing grace has not been canceled and remains unchanged, as powerful as ever. 

* My Hope is Built on Nothing Less by Bob Kauflin

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It’s that day again <3

So it’s my birthday and I don’t mind a bit. 

Thankfully as I approached my 50th year and was making all kinds of negative comments about it, God did that thing He does with me and spoke rather succinctly that perhaps since I had two daughters coming along behind me I might want to change my tone and embrace each year as a beautiful gift so that they would not dread getting older in a culture that deifies youth. 

I am so thankful He doesn’t beat around the bush with me because I can be dull and slow to catch on and His way of speaking in brief sentences helps me very much. I began to say I was excited about turning 50 and before long, I actually was excited about it.

While there are times I see my neck and whatever the heck is going on there or the patchwork wrinkles that are forming on the outside of my eyes and I am not a fan of aging; for the most part I am continuing to be postive about my age and thankful for the life I have been given. 

It has its perks, like early shopping hours during Covid and young people no longer treat me like a potential threat because I am an “older lady” so they open doors for me and call me “sweetie” and ask if I need help with carrying my groceries…sigh..whatev

Russ asked me last night if I had any favorite birthday memories and I would have to say all of them. I always loved my birthday and would tell everyone in my sphere of contact when it was coming up or happening so they would remember. I am sitting laughing at myself..but it is so true. 

There were the years he would have the kids make a big deal of it for me and the surprise parties he threw on my 30th and 40th that made me cry. There was the one I asked for on my 60th where we gathered a group of friends who have walked through so much of our adult life together and I was able to tell them how much they mean to me.

I shared a handful of ones from my younger years with him in answer to his question and as in all things he just shook his head at what this brain holds onto in the file cabinets of life lived. 

There was the year my dad set up a movie projector in some garage captured in a black and white photo where a group of little girls sat in their Sunday best on folding chairs watching cartoons played on the wall and munching popcorn.

There was the year in junior high when my mom felt bad that my birthdays were always spent in a travel trailer with people their age so she threw me a slumber party in the fall after a football game. She bought a cake from the bakery that was iced in psychedelic colors and had a plastic record player and records scattered over the top. 

Did I just date myself? If anyone doesn’t know what a record player is it was what we used before 8 tracks…never mind. 

Those travel trailer birthdays were fun, too. One year we had cake in a parking lot somewhere out west with the twenty plus fellow families from around the world as my dad was leading a Caravan America for ambassadors of other countries and their  families. 

There was the year she bought a half a watermelon and stuck a candle in it because I loved watermelon more than cake that summer. I have since recovered and they hold a solid tie in my heart. 

One glorious summer I was staying several weeks with my aunt and uncle in Washington and had real live cousins around my age to celebrate with me. They gifted me an insulated Schlitz mug for drinking my soda as we watched game shows….they all had one and wanted me to be part of the team with my own mug. 


Isn’t that what we all long for? 

Isn’t that why we celebrate our birthdays with friends and family and why we reach out and send greetings to others we love to say we are glad they were born?

It’s why I made a big fuss over each member of our family on their day and why I go out and hand select gifts and a card for friends on the anniversary of their births. 

We are born into a time and setting for purposes beyond our understanding and we touch the lives of those who travel with us. 

We should celebrate the gift of life given to us and we should celebrate the lives of those around us. Each one is so precious to God. Each one is assigned a time and space and it is sacred. What a marvelous thing that we are surrounded with the people of this time and place, hand picked to be here and to journey alongside others who were also handpicked <3

His breath sustains us. His wisdom guides us. He loves us and in return we love Him and each other. 

Such a gift. 

Such a cause of celebration. 

I hope you have a very happy day wherever you are. Whatever your circumstances are today, you are loved and you are designed for a purpose that is beautiful and specific and holy. 

Thank you for stopping by and sharing this day with me, today and any days you choose to visit. You are a gift to me <3

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Doing a new thing – monthly resolution report June <3

Here we are wrapping up what was June 2020. 

I don’t even know where to start. 

In January I set about to do a monthly improve a habit goal…
Kaloupek Counseling LLC

but that pretty much got eaten up by March, April, May and then June as we hunkered down and opened up and all that has transpired. It is making this popular facebook meme make me laugh in that way that is almost like close to a melt down into tears…
meme nation facebook page

So I am touching on some highlights and such as we wrap up the first half of 2020 and I try to regroup and refocus for July and the rest of summer.

First, tomorrow is a landmark day in our home as we celebrate 39 years of Russ’s work with the same company. It is remarkably unheard of these days and I can tell you that he did it with integrity and perseverance. He never sacrificed our family nor did he short change his responsibilities to the company. 

He showed up at home and left work back at the office. He showed up at work and left home for me to tend. If he traveled, he used the least amount of time away from us and his desk at the expense of lost sleep. 

I didn’t know how he would adjust to working from home, but like everything else he does, he did it well and without drama. The only change in routine was donning shorts instead of dress pants and now they are sending them back in shifts, so he and I will adjust yet again. 

He is the constant to my roller coaster and an inspiration to me for work ethic, dependability, diligence and character.

Second, I seem to use the word “irony” a lot lately as I observe the goings on and words and actions of my fellow humans in all walks of life and levels of prosperity, authority, power and influence. 

When I use a word a lot, I tend to want to look it up and make sure I have selected the right word. 

I found in a reference from Oxford Languages this definition:

A literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy (oh yeah…I can see I was on the right track here…), by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character. 

So if you are like me and listening and watching all that is going on these days and you are scratching your head trying to figure out what the heck is going on…irony…there is a lot of irony right now so just continue to observe, listen, discern, pray and speak only when you know your words are wise, needed and anointed.

Last of all, our “baby” turns 30 this week. 


I remember turning thirty like it was yesterday. 

In my heart, he is still that little guy that lit up my day with a smile and some funny expression that we all took up as a standard quote for the family. He is still going to bound through that door any minute with some heart-stopping announcement like the summer his friends discovered firecrackers and he came running in shouting, “Mom!!! I need something to blow up!!!”

Oh may he be forever young and blessed back a hundred zillion fold for the blessing he has been to us <3 

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