Category Archives: Empty Nest

Saturday and I just wanted to say hey <3

If you don’t mind, in light of the current state of our world, I may be posting more regularly. 

As a solid 4 on the Enneagram, I feel all the feelings…of me and  you and the song birds sitting out on our feeder trying to get their fair share of seed before the grackles come swooping in. 

So writing is my outlet. It’s my way to process and to draw close to God like the child I am. And over time, I have found it speaks to a few of you. 

If your inbox is full or I am not your cup of tea, that’s cool (not really…but I will heal…insert a grin)….just delete and move on.

I am just thankful for the internet right now because so many people are filling me up with encouragement and joy and ways to pray and keeping me informed. 

Since it is Saturday, I thought I would pass along a few things that are blessing me right now and if you want to share this with others, please do.

If you want to comment with some good news, I will post it. If you need someone to just share your heart with, you can put FYEO (for your eyes only) at the top of the comment and I will email you back but not post. 

Here is my Saturday list of encouragement:

  1. If you have Instagram, follow Natalie Grant. She and her husband are doing a daily song. It is just the two of them, Bernie on piano and Natalie singing. Pure worship and calling down God over our homes and families. Powerful.
  2. I have been asking God daily to show me who might need encouragement. Sometimes it’s just a text to check up, or a phone call or to drop something by someone’s house….ring the bell and run. 
  3. Our Sarah set us up on a google chat thing and by golly, Russ and I conquered another level of technology and got ourselves to the meet up. We provided several minutes of laughter for our young adults as we attempted to get a microphone working. Seeing their faces as they talked was good medicine. 
  4. Face time is so amazing. 
  5. Pandora is free with minimal ads and you can create your own stations from favorite artists. We are blessed beyond measure to have the ability to run through the TV, but you can access on your devices. You can also subscribe and skip the ads. 
  6. With nowhere to go, there a zillion sermons and podcasts to listen to and this is a great opportunity to learn and grow. 
  7. Take care of yourself – and I mean…clean up, dress, maintain the normalcy of routines…drink water often, bundle up and get outside, go ahead and laugh at some of the funnies out there…cry when you need to, acknowledge and name fear that might arise, tell someone…pray together and lift your head. 

Okay….that’s my bit for today. 

You are loved…remember that.

You are not forgotten.

You are precious in the eyes of your God.

He is with us.

We are not alone <3

Because the truth is…we don’t know <3

One day this week while we were being double teamed by the band of brothers and little miss thing, Graham went missing. 

I found him curled up on the front room couch. 

I asked him what was wrong and he just shook his head. He said he didn’t know. 

I asked him if I guessed the right thing, would he tell me and he nodded yes. 

So I went back over what I could remember of the past fifteen to twenty minutes to see if I could find the trigger but as I suggested some possibilities he shook his head no repeatedly. 

I asked if he just felt sad and that got a nod of ascent. 

He had been up playing basketball earlier at a friend’s house and I wondered if being with them reminded him of all that he has lost in such a short time. 

At eight years old, his sport’s teams and lunch room grossness and games of kickball are his world. 

Sure he loves his family, but it’s hard to keep getting excited about a two year old’s tea party with her Minnie Mouse cart and a four year old who needs the hoop lowered to about 5 feet off the ground and a six year old who wants to beat him and imitate him all at the same time, on a loop…24/7. 

And he’s sad. 

And he wants to know when it’s going to end, but we don’t have answers. 

The adults who always have fixed things, can’t fix this. 

So we talked about our faith, G and I. 

And I told him I get sad, too…and even scared. 

And I have to remember that I never had control of things, but I could manage them better before this thing started. 

And we prayed. 

We prayed for an end and we prayed for healing of those sick, we prayed for patience and for hope to fill us and we prayed for our friends who don’t know Jesus and are trying to get through this without Him.

The sadness didn’t go away right away but we held each other, and we drew comfort from that. 

God is good. 

This I know. 

And we will see it…keep the faith, dear ones. 

Keep the faith <3

Field trip to the Lou <3

We took advantage of the school holiday on Monday so the band of brothers could collect on their Christmas gift from Tia.

Which in reality, just seeing her seemed to be enough joy to float their boats but…

she wanted to take them to the new aquarium and ferris wheel in St Louis.


we got to slip in on the fun.

It was basically a boy’s dream trip…

fish nibbling your hands…

a skink right up close and personal, blue tongue and all…

more sticking your hands in water and touching critters…

not having to share Tia with Caroline…

a shark or two…

and then…

we climbed in the ferris wheel and saw the whole city from the sky…

even Lola was a brave little toaster…

After that we went for pizza on the Hill…

Drove by Tia’s so we could hug Rocco…

said goodbye and many thanks and plans made for another trip soon, soon, soon!!!

and basically…

crashed…except for Emmett…who managed to keep his energy up for the entire trip home.

All in all…

Best. Day. Ever. <3

Doing a new thing…monthly resolution report <3

Here I sit…shaking my head and wondering where January went. Anybody else?

At the start of the new decade, year, month I was loving seeing all the posts on social media regarding resolutions and different ways people handle these.

I love to try new ways to set goals and motivate myself to be and do better. Hearing what others are doing to make positive changes in life is inspiring to me.

One that I liked in particular was posted by a friend who owns a counseling practice and her suggestion was doing one week resolutions. 

She posted a variety of ideas of challenging yourself to make a healthy change for one week at a time. 

Here is a screen shot to give you an idea:
Kaloupek Counseling LLC

While I liked the concept, I decided to tweak it for myself and come up with something to try for a month. 

Because you know…

Go big or go home. 

I started brain storming new things I would be interested in trying that I am okay with just devoting a month to and see how it goes. So far I have ten written down so if you have an idea…send it my way <3

My first experiment was with the idea of using a “capsule wardrobe.” 

This concept both fascinates and produces extreme anxiety. 

If you are not familiar with it, google them on Pinterest. 

The photographs of 20-30 pieces of clothing and then the mix and match options are like a modern day Sears catalog for this child of the 60’s so if you didn’t love thumbing through the pages and picking out your favorite outfit you probably won’t get why I was intrigued by the challenge. 

The idea behind capsule wardrobes is to simplify the process of getting ready in the morning, and since I am less than punctual on just about every day of my life, I was hoping to instill better habits through the process.

The anxiety part came in because I am a mood dresser and also do not have 20-30 basic pieces of clothing like the examples shown, so I modified the whole thing to make it work for me without having to purge my closet and start over from scratch. 

I decided a workable concept was to make myself put together a week’s worth of outfits and hang them in a row in my closet. I checked forecasts and calendar commitments and refused to allow myself to overthink. 

In order to make sure I am actually WEARING the items that are crammed in my closet, I contracted with myself to only wear each item one time in that month and if I felt uncomfortable in anything at the end of the day I would put it in the give-away bag. (after washing of course!)

One last addendum to the experiment was to not be legalistic about it.

If I had to add a change to a day or didn’t get to it until Monday or Tuesday…there was grace.

Here is what I learned:

I found it incredibly freeing to not have to figure out what I was going to wear each morning. 

Since I forced myself to detach from over-thinking on Sunday, the process went quickly as I checked off each day’s needs and selected clothes that would work. 

I got rid of some things that I love but really don’t wear anymore. 

I felt more efficient with the rest of my day with one less decision already made at the start. 

I became aware of how much time I waste thinking about something that really isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things and for a procrastinator can be an excuse to waste time!

Will I continue this habit? 

I think I am going to attempt to make it a part of Sunday. It speaks to my inner need for organization and efficiency and helps me focus on more important things plus it DID help me get ready faster! 

So now I need to find my wish list for the year and figure out what my February discipline will be….and I am sure you will be on the edge of your seat waiting for the end of next month to hear what it was….


How are your “resolutions” going? 

Did you make them, keep them, come up with a new way to challenge yourself to grow?

Share it with someone …. it’s a fun conversation to have and you may inspire someone or learn something new <3

When your teacher is quite a bit younger than you….but wise beyond his years <3

I call him my Achilles’ Heel….that third grandchild with the big eyes and the big heart and the big gap in his smile. 

For some reason, sandwiched in between his larger than life two older brothers and the girl child miracle that is Caroline, Joel just has a way of non-competition and generous love that melts me. 

Oh, he is 100% human, and without adequate amounts of naps and ‘nacks….he can turn his nickname Joely Bear from the image of a teddy to a grizzly in a heart beat. 

But even when he is having a meltdown, everybody knows who will have his back and her name is L.O.L.A.

He adores his little sister and the feeling is mutual but sometimes girlfriend can’t help being two years old and she can wound his tender heart as a result.

Yesterday Joel came out of preschool proudly toting one of those shiny gold stickers that looks like a badge. 

Apparently they had a visitor from the local fire department and were each given one of these treasures. 

I pick him up on some Tuesdays while Mommy and Caroline are getting home from Bible Study.

He told me he was saving his sticker to give his sister and as soon as he saw her, he told her all about it and then deputized her as a miniature fire marshal and we headed off to McDonalds to celebrate. 

As I was driving, Caroline called my name and was trying to hand me something. 

At the stoplight, I reached back and saw what looked like a wadded up candy wrapper. I took it from her wondering how she managed to sneak a treat and then realized it was the sticker from Joel. She must have pulled it off and it tore and she just rolled it in a ball…easy come, easy go. 

For her. 

I quickly looked into the far back via the mirror and saw the face that makes me wish life was never hard or hurtful for this little man.

I commiserated as best I could from the front seat and told him I knew that probably hurt and did his teacher give him two? 

No, Lola…just one. 

I told him I was very sorry Caroline had ruined it, to which he responded quickly. 

“It’s okay Lola. I wanted her to have it.”

The message he conveyed in that moment; and backed up with his behavior toward her throughout the remainder of the day, exhibiting nothing but loving kindness was this…

I knew when I gave it to her she probably would do what two year olds do, but I love her so much I wanted her to have this wonderful gift from my morning at school since she couldn’t be there with me and I was thinking about her when I got it. 

In his child like way, he exhibits beautifully what God does for me all the time. 

He gives me wonderful gifts every day and most of the time I tend to waste them…not appreciate them…not be thankful for them. 

Yet tomorrow He will do the same thing. 

He will give me new mercies because He loves me. 

Not because I deserve them or earn them or even use them wisely. 

He just loves and gives because that is who He is. 

And as I cry still this morning thinking of that sweet and loving little face in the back of the van, I pray God would make me more child like to extend the same kind of love and mercy and grace I have been given…even if the recipients tear it in small pieces and wad it up and hand it back to me.