Loving Your Extended Family Members

A Home For Two

Today’s post will cover three days of articles on the subject of the empty nest years.  I try to take weekends off.  This one will cover, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for my challenge of Writing for 31 Days.  As you can see, I’ve been writing on, Making a Full House a Home For Two.

I want to talk about a maybe delicate subject for many and an easy one for some; loving and enjoying your extended family members. The best way to start is to tell my story.

I grew up in a broken home.  Having grandparents around and aunts, uncles, cousins were not that normal for me.  I wasn’t around one of my grandmother’s much and when I was in high school, she came to live with us.  It was a very unpleasant experience.  She was an angry person and very self centered.  Dotting on her granddaughter was not on her list of things to do.  I did spend much of my high school years taking care of her the best that I was able to do.  I shared a room with my mom and when my “Nanny “came to live with us, I slept on the couch in the living room until we found a place for her to live on her own.  Let’s just say, she didn’t make it pleasant in our tiny home of my two brothers and I and of course my mom.  My life with my Nanny were interesting to say the least.  I have a few good memories.  I did my best to honor her and love her as I should.

My other set of grandparents were very kind and sweet people.  I wasn’t around them much.  The handful of memories that I have of them are precious to me and I hang on to them dearly.  After my parents divorced when I was 12, I didn’t see them much. I really didn’t see them very much before the divorce either.  They did hold a special place in my heart, and they still do.

I was blessed to live close to an Aunt and Uncle who became mentors to me.  I learned a lot from them and I am very thankful for how they cared about us and made sure we were doing okay.  They were busy raising their own children, so it’s not like we expected to be a huge part of their family, but, they always included us on holidays and always made us feel welcome in their home.  I loved them dearly.

My experience with extended family isn’t anything to write home about.  So, I have had to learn some things the hard way.  I am still learning, too.

When I married my Jim, I had no idea of what it was like to have in-laws.  I took things for granted that I would be loved and accepted just because of who I was.  If you are still young and learning about life…..don’t do that.  I do hope this post will help you to learn a life long lesson that is so very important if family means the world to you.

When you marry into a family, you might want to look at it as making new friends.  When you meet someone that you want to be friends with, you go out of your way to get to know them, right?  Well, do that with your new in-laws….before the marriage takes place and after. I’m talking, parents, sisters and brothers; and even the grandparents!  Yes, I do know that some people will not accept you regardless, but the important thing is that you make the effort and do your best.  I’ve heard some crazy stories over the years of how family members treat one another and I’m sure you have, too.  You just be who you are supposed to be and if you are accepted and loved, that is wonderful, if not, don’t take it personal.  There may be some other issues going on that you have no control over.  You are only responsible for yourself.  Or, they could be like me and just plain don’t know how to act or be around people you don’t know and you are honestly naive enough to think they will love you just because.

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When your children are grown and they marry the love of their life, you now have the joy of a new daughter-in-law or son-in-law.  The same principle goes.  Treat them as a new friend that you are wanting to get to know.  Find whatever it is that you have in common and can build a relationship on.  Yes, again, I know it’s a two way street.  But, what is important, is how you choose to build on your relationship.  Remember, you are the older adult, right?  You teach by how you love and accept them regardless.

Don’t be threatened by someone new in the family.  Look at it as your family is growing and what an opportunity to have someone new to love.  If you have any feelings of jealousy, take care of it immediately.  Jealousy has no place in a family!

I didn’t have any teaching or training on how to be a new daughter in-law or sister-in-law and the ultimate, a mother-in-law.  I would so love to be good at each one of these.  I have a feeling, we all do.  If you are like me, you have blown it several times and wish you could go back and have a second chance.  The good news is, I have some family members that I know love me, warts and all, and like you, I’m sure, we have some that your first try was it, no more chances.

I do hope this post will be an encouragement to you to take your duties as an in-law serious.  If you have blown it and you are fortunate to have those in your life that love you anyway, you are blessed.  If you are one that has blown it and you get no more tries, that’s okay.  You hold your head up and learn from it and help others to not make the same mistakes.  Remember the post on, forgiveness?  You might want to re-read that one.  It might help.

Have you hurt someone in your family?  Have you been hurt by someone in your family?  Is there a way to make it right?  If so, then do so.  If not, move on and be sure that forgiveness is in your heart and just be ready when they are ready to make it right.  Grudges in family members is a tool that will destroy a legacy.  Begin a family legacy of love and acceptance.  Your children and grandchildren are watching.

The empty nest years are precious years and you don’t want to spend them having regrets and living petty issues.  Start today, and leave a legacy of loving your extended family members.

Be sure to click here to find the list of the other posts in this series of, Making a Full House A Home For Two.

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Do You Know What Is Going On In Your Country?

A Home For Two

We are talking about making a home in the empty nest years and also trusting that even if you aren’t in the empty nest years that you may get some insight into some things to prepare for and to even implement into your life today.  One of those things on the list should be loving and knowing your country.  For me, that is the United States of America.   Did you sleep through history class when you were young and missed out on some key points?  Well, I must have, because I have made it a habit to read about things that I’m curious about in the founding of our country.  I have been amazed at the things I have learned.  I’m also amazed at the things I learned that weren’t even covered in the text books that were used.

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Just because we are older doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stay on top of learning about our history.  It’s important to make historic visits to sites when traveling.  A good place to start is right where you live.  Learn about the things that began right in your area and branch out from there.

Staying on top of social issues is important to.  When it comes time to vote for candidates, we need to know who aligns with our beliefs in how our country should go.  It’s also a good thing to note that we are in the middle of electing our next president here in America.  We are living in some interesting times.  Our country is going through some strange times. So many belief systems going on and it doesn’t sound like anyone is listening to anyone or more than that, they don’t care what anyone has to say about anything.  We have two choices of candidates that I have to shake my head as I think, “how did this happen?”  For me, I have to look past the candidate and stand on principle and know the platform that I agree the most with.  It’s so important to know the different parties platforms.  Remember when we talked about knowing what you believe, well, this is where you will see some of your beliefs in a statement of what the political platform stands for.  You may even want to get involved in your local party to make sure that those standards are kept.  We hear so many people complain about our country and the things that divide us, but yet, don’t really get involved in helping to promote and preserve the guidelines that build a political party platform.  Writing letters to your Congressman, making calls to your Senators, signing petitions, donating money, the list goes on and on in ways to help make our country even greater.  Voting is an honor, a privilege and a duty as a citizen of our country.  Do your homework and go to the polls, even in the smaller elections.  Your vote, is your voice being heard.

My thinking is that we as a people are so afraid of tradition and so afraid of offending others that we are losing site of what made our country great.  We have talk show leaders that keep things stirred up and 24 hour news that we live by that we stay upset and we forget how to just love our country and know what men and women have gone through to keep us safe and free.  We are letting others come in and tell us what we should believe and shouldn’t believe.  It seems something is always stirring.

News Flash!!!  This has been going on for a very very long time!  Well, since the beginning of time.  Why?  Because man is a natural born sinner.  God created us to where we can make our own choices.  I happen to believe that when we decide to put our faith and trust in a living God, our lives change and we want to think right, live right and do right.  How can we do that?  By reading God’s Word and knowing how He designed us to live.  When we have Christ living in our hearts, we know right from wrong, we know deep down how we are to live.

So all that to say, there are two voices in the world going.  Those that want to live a holy and acceptable life and those that don’t.  Those then clash and we have strife.  We have pretenders, deceivers and some that truly walk the path of righteousness.  This is why you need to know who you are, where you came from, the history of your country and what you believe.  Tie all that in to loving others and trying to encourage and inspire others with your life and words.

Teach your children and grandchildren the stories of your country.  Pass tradition on. Don’t be afraid of tradition just because the trend right now is to leave tradition behind.  Someday, people will be scrambling to learn tradition.  We truly want to know all the who, what, where and when of our country.

If you want to read the rest of the series of Making a Full House a Home for Two, click here to find the list of articles.

 

Now Is The Time to Get Fit!

A Home For Two

I’m still trying to lose the weight that I gained with my babies!  Oh wait, my baby is now 30 years old!  That excuse is not working anymore.  When I had our first baby girl, I gained almost 60 pounds.  Yep, crazy, right?  I maybe lost half of it before I had our baby boy.  I then gained, of course, while expecting him.  So, it all began, I just packed it on year after year, day by day.  I never really tried to lose weight.  I wanted to, but obviously not bad enough.  I was busy with life;  ministry, homeschooling and just enjoying making a home. I just never made the effort.  When my “baby boy” was 14, something clicked.  I was ready.  I joined a group that was doing a book study on weight loss.  When I weighed in for my first weigh in, I weighed exactly the same as I did when I stepped on the scale in the hospital right before delivery!  I gasped in the hospital so you can imagine what I did when I saw that same number 14 years later.  I did the program exactly as they said and I was on a mission to lose weight.  I did it.  I lost almost 60 pounds.  I never felt better.  It was fairly easy to do and I loved meeting with the group that I was with.  My family supported me and encouraged me daily.

I got comfortable.  So comfortable that I didn’t worry about what I ate any more.  I never thought about it.  I became lax in my walking and watching what I ate.  Now…the weight has crept back on, pound by pound.  I’m to that point where I want to and have to get serious again about losing and not going back to the old ways of no exercise and not caring what I eat.  I’ve tried different groups and even led a few, but for some reason I just couldn’t get that feeling of, “this is it, I’m doing this until I’m at my goal!”  But, today, I am determined to get this done and over with.

“To see a change, we have to make a change, and Now Is The Time!” -Beverly Dillow (that’s me)

Are you needing to make a change to be more fit and healthy?  Now is the time!  Don’t put it off until tomorrow.  Waiting until Monday isn’t a good thing either.  I looked forward to so many Monday’s while living it up until then and then Monday came and I said, “maybe next Monday!”  I can testify, that isn’t a good thing!

If you aren’t in the empty nest years and you are in the middle of raising little ones.  I’m encouraging you to begin today, to get fit and healthy.  Don’t put it off.  I so wish I would have done something when my babies were small and I know I would have enjoyed life so much better and things would have been easier.  So, take it from me…..NOW IS THE TIME!  Just do it, don’t wait.

I can still hear my doctor tell me when I was in for a visit while expecting my first baby.  He said, “Beverly, the older you get the harder it will be to lose your weight, so start now!”  Oh, how I wish I would have listened to him seriously.  I didn’t think it was that bad.  I also didn’t have a scale during all those years, so I never kept up with what my weight was doing.  So, get a scale, be intentional and get busy getting in shape.

You may be in perfect shape and fit.  What a blessing!  Encourage someone that needs help and get along side of them and lovingly take them under your wing.  Of course, wait until they ask you.  It might not go over well to walk up to someone and say, “I can help you lose weight and get fit if you let me.”  It might offend them outwardly, but inside, they may be thrilled that someone cares. But still, let them come to you.  So find a way to make yourself available.  Start a book study or begin an exercise group.  I have a feeling something will come up if you truly want to help others.

Remember…..To see a change, we have to make a change and NOW IS THE TIME!

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Living a Life for Christ

A Home For Two

Remember all those years wondering if you would ever be able to be consistent in your time of praying and reading your Bible daily without all the fun interruptions of caring for your children?  Well, this is it!  When your children have soared out of the nest, you are now responsible for every second of your day and you get to plan it with what works best for you.  Sounds so selfish, doesn’t it?  Your days are designed a little bit different now.

Setting a time to sit in the quiet with just you and your Bible is important.  Reading God’s Word is how we come to know who He is, how He thinks and what He wants for our lives.  Do you have a certain way that you read your Bible?  My goal, notice I said goal!  Somedays, I don’t reach my goal, but I strive for it.  This is how I read my Bible:

One chapter of Proverbs (the one that corresponds with the day of the month.  There are 31 chapters, so I read one a day.)

One chapter of the Psalms

One chapter of the Old Testament

One chapter of the New Testament

One chapter of The Four Gospels (I read through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

I then have a Bible study that I’m usually working through that I will sit down to do sometime during the day.  *At the end of this series, I will have a list of some of my favorite Bible studies in the Resource section.

It’s always nice to be involved in a Bible study with others, too.  You may have some going on through your church or you can start one with friends.  Studying God’s Word with others is always a plus.

Attending church changes a little bit when the nest is empty.  It’s a bit quieter.  You are no longer getting your kids to their classes and activities or being around the busyness of church life with children and teens.  If you are like me, you feel a little out of the loop. This is an important time to have teaching; we are never too old to be taught the amazing things of God.  You always want to be learning.  If you think you have heard it all and have learned it all, you might be listening to the wrong voice.  Also, if the opportunity arises, if you can teach, work in a class or lead a ministry, you will want to do that; you will grow even more and then the opportunity to share….what a blessing!

I do hope you are in a good church that inspires you and encourages you in your walk with Christ.  I also hope that you are able to use your gifts in encouraging others in the church as well.  If not, you may need to find a new place to worship and serve.

Many years ago, we had joined a small church.  It was during a difficult season of our lives and we just wanted to be somewhere that we could sit and listen to God’s Word and be around positive people.  We joined this church simply because we had some sweet friends that attended there.  Long story short, it became a huge hindrance in our lives.  The messages we heard were negative and angry.  A majority of the people were angry.  We felt like we had stepped into someone else’s space and we were not welcome.  We hung on as long as we could and the Lord made a way for us to escape, I mean leave.  I’m telling you this story to encourage you to be in a positive church that loves people and preaches and teaches the true gospel of Christ.  If you are going somewhere that is negative and the people are unfriendly, you might want to find a place that helps you in your Christian walk.  Please note, there has never been a perfect church, simply because people aren’t perfect.  You and I aren’t perfect, right?  But you do want to be in a God honoring, serious minded, people loving church.  Life is too short to be miserable in your church life.

Holy living is just as important now as it was when your children were home in their nest.  We should live our lives to honor God, not because someone is watching.  You will also want to encourage your spouse in their walk with Christ daily.  Don’t take for granted that someone doesn’t need encouragement and inspiration from you.

If you have not reached the empty nest years yet, I have some advice for you:

Find your time to spend time alone with God each day.

Teach your children to do the same.

Get in to God’s Word, like really get into His Word and study.  Become a student of the many stories and lessons in your Bible.  Apply them to your life.

Be in a good church that teaches God’s Word and loves people and shares the gospel.

Be around godly people that inspire and encourage you.

Strive to live a life that honors and glorifies God.

Know what you believe and why.

Make sure your children understand.  Don’t leave it to others to teach them.  You teach them.  As they get older, there will be plenty of people that will try their best to teach them different and convince them that they have been taught wrong.  You want those roots to go deep!

Share the amazing grace of Christ with others.

What a beautiful time to serve God; in the child raising years and the empty nest years!

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To see the other posts in this series you can click here to go to that page.

A Forgiving Heart

A Home For Two

Today we are going to talk about, Forgiveness.  You might be saying, “Beverly, what does forgiveness have to do in Making a Full House a Home for Two?”  When we are setting the tone of our home, we want it to be peaceful, right?  Where unforgiveness lives, you probably won’t find much peace. Having a forgiving heart is an important trait to have regardless of what season of life you are in.  The sooner you can develop a forgiving heart, the happier your home and life will be.

The older we get, the more life experiences we have and guess what….the more disappointments and hurts we will have.  When we have been wronged, our natural reaction is to hurt back and then hold a grudge.  Have you heard the saying, “hurt people, hurt people?”  I have a feeling all those people that you are thinking of that have disappointed you, have been disappointed by someone else.

Who are you not forgiving today?  Maybe, today is the day to just…forgive.  Many times we won’t forget what has been done to us, but we can forgive and not let bitterness build up in our hearts.  Bitterness is not pretty.  Bitterness keeps you from having peace.  It also invites negativity to take over your thoughts, words and actions.  Have you ever been around a negative person?  Do you know someone who never sees the good in anything.  They have a problem with everyone and everything.  Not pleasant is it?  I have a feeling it all started with not forgiving someone of a wrong that was done to them.

Unforgiveness has a few friends; Bitterness, Anger, Negativity and Jealousy!  Don’t allow them to take over your life.  They are destroyers.  They can destroy your peace, your family, your friends and your future.

I’ve had my share of hurts, trust me.  I have family members that I’ve had to forgive due to cruel things that were said and I’ve had to ask forgiveness as well.  Yes, there are some that don’t care if they hurt, they want to hurt.  My husband and I were in full-time ministry for many years and when you are betrayed and hurt by church members and church leaders, it cuts to the core of everything you are.  A few times, it was almost unbearable.  I’ve had to work through some words that were spoken and deeds that were done that I didn’t want to forgive.  I wanted to hurt back.  I wanted them to know how bad they hurt my family and I.  I finally had to come to terms that I was only hurting myself.  I had to get the victory over my unforgiveness.  I was becoming bitter and negative.  It also made me non-trusting.  That is no way for a child of God to live.  I’m saddened now by the actions of a few, but they have no power over me and my life because I forgive them and I have moved on.  Will I trust them again?  I’m much wiser in who I trust.  But, I have peace and I know that I am walking in the path that God has set for me.  That is so much more freeing than being in bondage to malice in my heart.

Who do you need to forgive today?  Begin a list and write out what they did or said to you.  Pray for each person and ask the Lord to help you forgive them for whatever it was they did.  Now, tear your list up and throw it away.  Remember, just because you forgive them, doesn’t mean that you will want to continue to be around them if they are constantly hurting you.  Don’t subject yourself to those that abuse.   It’s possible that when you truly forgive someone and they forgive you, you will have a brand new relationship and become the best of friends better than before.  If we let pride get in the way, we will never know what is possible.

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Is there someone that you need to ask to forgive you?  Have you done or said something to someone that you know hurt them?  Now is the time to get it straight.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31

In this season of life, there is no room or time for having a heart full of jealousy, hatred, bitterness, anger and unforgiveness.  Don’t let it rob you one more second.  The sooner we can learn this lesson, the better.  Hopefully, we taught our children this lesson.  If not, it is never too late to teach a lesson on forgiveness.

Don’t let unforgiveness ruin your home.

Be sure to click here to catch up on the rest of the series of, “How to Make a Full House a Home for Two.”   You will find links to the rest of the series.

 

Be Your Authentic Self

A Home For Two

Welcome back to my Write 31 Days series on, Making a Full House a Home For Two.  We are talking about life after our children leave our little nest that we have spent many years building.   Our kiddos have left and are now soaring like eagles. If you are like me, you looked at yourself in the mirror and said, “Now what?”

Yesterday we talked about Embracing the life that we have, right now.  We don’t want to be wishing it away or saying, “I’ll work on that later.”  We have now and we need to embrace where we are in life.  That doesn’t mean we don’t strive to make it better, it means, we are real with ourselves and build on where we are and what we have.

Today, let’s talk briefly about being you!

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As I mentioned earlier that after our children have left home and we look in the mirror and we say, “Now what?”  Who do you see?  You are now entering into a new season of life and it’s important to know who you really are.  I don’t look at it as losing yourself while raising your children and we will be talking about that in other posts, but, you are now beginning a new way of living.  Remember, I love journaling and writing things down, so, make a list of the things that will be different in your life now.  Your schedule will look different, the way you spend your free time, you may be able to do more ministry or volunteer work somewhere or travel more with your husband….the list will be all so different for everyone.

If you are really brave, you will write out a description of who you are.  What are your likes, your dislikes, your standards.  What is your personality?  It’s important to know and accept your self as you are.  Don’t try to design your life just like someone else or try to act just like someone else.  I love the saying,  “there is only one you, all of the others have been taken.”  

There is nothing wrong with admiring something in someone else’s life and incorporating those things to build on who you are, but don’t try to be just like someone else.

I grew up very shy and still am to this day.  Shy people are intimidated very easily.  We also are very fearful (at least I was) of being ourselves.  So very afraid of doing something wrong or someone not liking us.  We are sensitive and can pick disapproval up very easy.  Some people can be insensitive and cruel.  I know, shock, right?  Shy people will withdraw and just keep thoughts, feelings and emotions to themselves due to the fear of those people.  That is how I was for many years.  I became a Christian as a young teen and my world changed.  I knew I was designed, loved and accepted by my Heavenly Father.  He had a purpose for my life and I slowly grew out of my fear of the judgement of people by knowing the only one that mattered loved me just the way I was.

Whew, I could go on and on about the life of a shy girl, but, the point today is…be you.  Don’t worry about others.  God designed you to accomplish certain things in your life and He has given you the tools to do that.  Don’t get into bondage by thinking you have to be or act like someone else.

Okay, I’ll give you one more example.  The last several years, I have had the honor of speaking to different groups of women.  Oh my, the first time, I literally thought I would die before my time came to step up to that microphone.  All I knew to do was, just be me!  Of course, I studied in the proper way to give a speech, voice control (I have a very soft voice, unless I’m mad), making eye contact and all those important things in speaking.  Since I was a young teen, I have loved watching and listening to many speakers.  I knew everyone of them had their own style.  They weren’t all the same, right?  But, I was a bit nervous that others would judge me as not being like some of the great speakers they have heard before.  A lesson I learned early on; don’t watch Beth Moore (isn’t she awesome) before I have a speaking engagement.  The enemy likes to whisper in my ear, “you are nothing like her, no one will listen to a word you have to say.”  But, then when I listen to the voice of my Savior, He says, “be who I designed you to be and bring honor and glory to My name.”

All that to say….Be your authentic self……be who God designed you to be and bring honor and glory to His name in everything you are, say and do.  Don’t be an imitation of someone else.  Know yourself…..you have things that need to get done in this life and only you can do them!

Let’s do this!

If you missed the previous posts in this series of “Making a Full House a Home for Two,” click here to get the links.

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Embrace Life!

A Home For Two

How many times did you tell your children to not worry about anything and just enjoy life?  If you are like me, you said that many times over the years.  What about you?  Do you enjoy life?  Are you enjoying your life as it is today?

It is important that whatever season of life you are in, that you enjoy and make it the best…right now….today!

Sometimes, we can get in the habit of always looking forward to something that we miss out on the NOW.  An example for me would be that I am anxiously awaiting the return of Christ, but, I also am trying to live life as full and purposeful each day while I look forward to His appearing!

I had someone tell me once during their child raising years that they couldn’t wait to see their children grow up and leave the home.  My heart hurt as I listened.  I can’t imagine dreaming of the day my children would leave home.   I’ve seen many rush their children to grow up faster than they should.  Today, we see many children miss out on the years of just being a child.  The innocence of a child is so sweet; so many lose that innocence so very young.  We miss such special times because we want them to be older or bigger or whatever.  Enjoy now….enjoy the place your children are right now at  this very moment.

Recently, I caught myself being idle because I wasn’t able to do anything due to thinking of a trip coming up.  I missed a couple of days of accomplishing some goals simply because I could only think of that trip and preparing for only that. Time was wasted and things were let go, simply because I didn’t put things in order.  I was looking only at that trip and not what was around me that needed attention.

What about entertaining in your home?  You may think that you will wait until you have a bigger home or it’s spotless and in the mean time, you miss out on special time with friends or family.

What are you putting off because you are wishing for something different?  Do you feel like you are missing out on the hear and now by always thinking of all the what if’s and maybe’s?

What season are you in now….today?  Are you in the middle of raising a family?   You get one shot at it……..so go for it and make it the best possible regardless of the situation.  We have so much to be thankful for, don’t wish it all away to be something different.  How you live your life isn’t dependent on other’s.  It is dependent on how you choose to live your life.

Whether you are single or married with or without children; embrace your life and don’t wish it away hoping for something different, bigger, better, older, younger, skinnier, larger, or whatever goes through your mind that holds you captive in enjoying today.

The “empty nest” years can be wonderful and precious years if we accept it and are determined to make it that way.  I want to be just as fulfilled in these years as I was while raising our children.  I know you do, too.

I’m a believer in journaling.  Today, as soon as you are finished reading this, make a list of the things in your life that you are grateful for.  Then write out where you are in life and how you can make each day count.  What are the things that keep you busy and fulfilled?  How can you make a difference in someone else’s life?  Are there some things you are putting off by wishing for something different that what it is?  If so, name it, get rid of that thinking and move on!

Know your purpose in life and run with it!  When a young woman wonders what life will be like when her children are grown and she is living the “empty nest” years, maybe she will think of you and have you as a goal to strive for.  You are mentoring younger women without saying a word.  Your life speaks volumes!

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This post is 2nd in a series of 31. I am doing the writing challenge that takes place each October called Write 31 Days.  Click here to go to my landing page that will have all of the links to the other articles on this series of Making a Full House a Home for Two.

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Making A Full House A Home For Two!

A Home For Two

 

I’m so excited to be participating in the #write31days for the month of October.  I had so many different ideas for what I wanted to write on this month and I settled on focusing in on the season of life that I am in right now, which is the “empty nest” season.  I’ve talked to some people who do not like the term, empty nest.  I actually did some research on possible ways to word it different.  I wasn’t able to find anything that sounded right.  I personally don’t mind the term, “empty nest.”  I think it’s kind of cute… as in the picture I found that is on my graphic of the little nest with the eggs in it.  I loved my season of having children at home and I miss it.  I’m thinking that there could possibly be a reason some think negatively of the saying, “empty nest.” It may be that they don’t like this time of life where the children are gone and it’s now just the two of you and you are wondering what you are going to do with yourself with all this time without children to fill your day.

My conclusion is…..there isn’t anything we can do about it to change it, so we might as well make the best of it and learn to soar with the eagles.  We want our children to soar, don’t we?  Well, we need to soar, too and that is what we are going to learn to do together.  I do hope that you will be encouraged and challenged to do as my byline says, “design a life that you love after your children are gone.”

You may be in the throws of raising your children now and you can’t even imagine not having them under your feet.  I think you may learn something anyway.  Trust me,  (I know you’ve heard this a million times) time goes by so quickly and the better you are prepared, the smoother your flight will be when the time comes.

I’m excited; I hope you are, too!  See you tomorrow, as we begin to cover the many areas of, “Making A Full House A Home For Two.”

Day #1 – Introduction

Day #2 – Embrace Life!

Day #3 – Be Your Authentic Self

Day #4 – A Forgiving Heart

Day #5- Living For Christ in the Empty Nest Years

Day #6- Now Is The Time To Get Fit

Day #7- Do You Know What’s Going On In Your Country?

Day #8- Loving Your Extended Family Members

Day #9- Your Time Will Come

Day #10- Have a Merry Empty Nest Christmas

Day #11- 10 Ways to Enjoy An Empty Nest Christmas

Day #12-

Day #13-

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Day #22-

Day #23-

Day #24-

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Day #27-

Day #28-

Day #29-

Day #30- What I Wish I Had Done and Known Before Now

Day #31- Resources

 

 

Remembering, On Memorial Day!

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Memorial Day is a holiday for many; kids are out of school, banks are closed, mail doesn’t run and some stores close early.  This day calls for a cookout with family and friends, right?

That is what we did and what fun it was to get together with everyone and catch up and just enjoy one another with some delicious food and fun.

As I was preparing for the day, I couldn’t help but think about all of those that have sad memories on this day as they remember someone  special that never returned home from a war or while serving in our military.  When I was homeschooling my kiddos it was always on the agenda to discuss and learn of the men and women that never returned while protecting our freedom.  This past Monday, the mom/teacher in me began looking up facts and history on our military and the number of deaths that have occurred over the 200 plus years of America!  (click here to read some stats on past wars) Aren’t you thankful for the internet?  How easy things would have been when we were schooling to do research on so many interesting things!

I have a sweet friend, Allison.  I met Allison in Nashville at a writer’s conference.  We hit it off right away and became far away friends as she lives in Kansas and I, in Texas. (She was born and raised in Cape Cod, my hope to be vacation spot, someday) I’ve heard bits and pieces of her story about her dad over the years.  I asked her for more details and she graciously shared them with me and said I could share with you.  I cried as I read her story and saw her pictures.  This is a story of a girl who was born two months after her daddy was lost at sea.  Well, I’ll let Allison tell you her story……

My father’s name was Bryce Moody. He entered the United States Marine Corps upon graduating from college in 1957. He was one who always loved adventure: he was in the Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout), loved sailing, camping, hiking and so on. It had always been his dream to fly, so he opted to be a fighter pilot.

Bryce
Bryce Moody

He and his new bride (my mother) went to F-8U pilot training in several places: Pensacola, Florida; Memphis TN; and Kingsville, TX. His first official assignment as a pilot after all that training was to Beaufort (pronounced BOW-fort) Naval Air Station in SC.

By this time my brother David was on the scene and mom was already pregnant with me. They were much in love and had a strong group of friends. Many of the pilots were still single, but some were married, so mom had girlfriends too. They also had a dog named Woofie. It was a good life.

On February 29, 1960, my father, now a 1st lieutenant, and another pilot, Captain Bill McCurdy had a routine mission out over the Atlantic Ocean. This was a low-level, high speed mission over the water and, as can happen it was a cloudy day. Captain McCurdy became disoriented in the clouds and radioed to my father what was going on. He had lost his bearings and couldn’t tell “up from down,” so to speak. So my dad said he would come up underneath Captain McCurdy’s plane and fly near him where McCurdy could see my father’s plane and give him some visual awareness of where he was and then they could proceed with the mission.

Unfortunately, the wings of the planes clipped one another and my father’s plane lost control and went into the Atlantic. This all happened in a matter of seconds. The plane hit the water at a high rate of speed, slamming into the ocean as if hitting a brick wall. There were no remains, and all that was found after several days of searching was a small piece of the plane’s wing.

In those days, the military did not want the other pilots to be reminded of its “failures.” My dad’s plane went down on a Monday. There was a Memorial Service for him on Thursday, and by Saturday, Mom, my brother and her belongings were back in her parents’ home in New Jersey. She once told me, “I even had to get rid of my dog,” although I found out much later that some of her friends graciously took Woofie so he had a good home.

From what I have pieced together, Mother had a breakdown. She was 7 months pregnant with me, so my 2-year-old brother went to live with my father’s parents for several months. They weren’t really equipped for having a toddler in their home. My father’s sister was 15 at the time and they were all grieving of course. Yet here was this precocious little one, running all over their home. One story is that he spent most days turning the knobs of all the 3-way lamps the “wrong” way. My poor grandmother… By the time my teenage aunt got home from school, guess what SHE got to do?!

Two months to the day after my father’s death, I was born on April 29, 1960. My mother was not interested in me whatsoever, so my maternal grandmother did most of the caregiving for me in that time. My mother’s mental and emotional withdrawal had long-term consequences, as she and I never developed a proper “mother/daughter” relationship. I believe my “mother/daughter” bond was with my grandmother, but she died when I was 13, so things have been complicated in my family for my entire life.

One other thing that was always odd to me was that my father’s family chose to never put any sort of grave marker or head stone up for him. I do not know why they made this choice. I never asked; talking about him was just simply “not done.” It was “understood” as painful and so we avoided the topic. I didn’t think this was right, but I was always the child and understood my role to not ask questions.

I am no longer a child, and my grandparents and mother have passed away. This year, I contacted the Veterans’ Administration and as is his right, had a grave stone made for my father. It is now in the South Chatham Cemetery on Cape Cod in Chatham Massachusetts. I could have requested that it be placed in a military cemetery, but my father loved Chatham. It was where he and my mother met. Our families loved the Cape. It is the obvious and perfect place.

This Memorial Day weekend, I had the joy and privilege of going to that cemetery and not only seeing the grave stone, but also putting a flag and laying flowers there. It was 56+ late, but I am so thankful I was the one who was able to do all this for him. – Allison M. Woods, Memorial Day, 2016

Gravestone and flag

 

Thank you, Allison.  We are all grateful for men like your father!

My grandfather, dad, husband and father-in-law all  served in the U.S Navy. My brother served in Desert Storm as a  U.S. Marine.  (click here to read about my brother) I’m thankful they all returned safely.

May we fly our flags proudly each Memorial Day, as we remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in securing our freedom.

Gravestone

 

 

10 Lessons I Learned From A Single Mom!

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My father left for the final time when I was 12 years old.  He had left us many times before, but this time, I knew it was forever.  I had two younger brothers; 9 and 2 years old.  We moved into a tiny rent house on the  south side of town and life was pretty hard for us four, but we made it.  We made it because we had a mother that was strong and had no intentions of giving up.  She worked as a desk clerk at a large hotel in town and found two other jobs to go with it to make ends meet.  Whenever the local baseball team had an in-town game, she would work the concession stand.  Many nights and weekends, I would be sitting in the stands with my two little brothers while waiting for my mom to get off of work.  I am not into sports at all, so you can imagine how boring this was for me.   She also worked on weekends at the Country Club answering phones and greeting guests.  When they would have an event at the club, she would work the coat check desk.  Many times she would come home with a bowl full of change from her tips.  She would let us count the money and how exciting it was when we would report that she had made $35.00!  The money always went to pay bills or the rent. After a couple of years, she did get a job as secretary of our church that took the place of those three jobs.  In thinking of those days, I’m always amazed how strong my mother was and to raise three children alone.

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In thinking about my mom this Mother’s Day, I came up with 10 things that I learned from her as I watched her life as a young girl.

Ten Lesson’s Learned From A Single Mom

 

Take what life has handed you and make the best of it.  When we moved into that tiny house, I’m sure my mother was scared to death.  But, I didn’t know it.  She took charge and we fixed it up the best way we could.  So very thankful for my Aunt who could sew like a dream.  She made bedding and curtains for our tiny house.  My mother didn’t look for a way out, she made the best of a very sad and hard situation.

Excellent work ethic.  My mother never expected anything from anyone. She worked hard at each job she had and she took it serious.  I do not ever remember hearing her complain about having to go to work.  I would hear her alarm go off each morning and she would then make sure we were up.  She would have my baby brother at day care early each morning. He was usually the first one to arrive.  I would get myself and my other brother ready for school and the long walk to the bus stop.

Be wise with money.  Rent, bills and food took every penny my mother earned.  When we needed clothes, my mother would put things on lay-a-way and pay weekly on them until we could get them.  My Aunt would make many of my clothes and I also got to wear the clothes my cousin outgrew.  What fun it was when my Aunt would call and say, “We just cleaned Rhonda’s closet out, come see if Beverly wants anything.”  It was like a giant shopping spree!  From my recollections, our electricity or water was never turned off due to non payment.  My mother always met her obligations without complaint.

A Strong Faith!  My mom put her faith in Christ about three years after we were on our own.  She was 34 and  our home changed completely the day she made Christ head of our tiny home.  To this very day at the age of 78, she has never wavered in her faith and has stood strong in her beliefs.  I would be fearful to know what would have happened to us all if she hadn’t invited Jesus to be the head of our home.  Watching how my mom trusted and believed in Christ made me even more stronger in my faith.  I saw something real and I saw something that I knew I had to have in my life!

Love people! As we started attending church, my mother began to find ways to serve others.  She taught Sunday School to third grade girls.  She worked on a bus that picked up children whose parents didn’t attend church.  Many times she would even help dress some little ones so they could get on the bus.  My mother would leave the house early on Sunday mornings to work the bus route and my bothers and I would get ready for church and the bus would pick us up.  My mom always had a child in her lap and another one leaning on her and others standing in front of her talking away because they knew she loved them and listened to every word they said.  I was with her recently when a adult man with children stopped and said, “Aren’t you Mrs. Fisher?  You took care of me and my sisters on the bus when I was little.”  Of course, my mom remembered him and each of his sisters.  I can honestly say, my mom loves people and is interested in every detail of their lives. You should see her prayer journal!

Don’t gossip!  When I talk to my mother about things from the past, she will tell me stories that I have to drop my jaw in amazement wondering how she carried on with her life knowing what people said to her and how they treated her.  When I was young, she never said anything bad about anyone, even those that were unkind to her.  I grew up in the church thinking everyone loved me and wanted the best for me, because, that is what she taught me.  Needless to say, I loved them as well.  When my husband and I were in full-time ministry and found out that there are some that are dishonest and cruel, she taught me to stand strong and that it breaks God’s heart, too.  Because of my moms tenacity and steadfastness, I knew that we would make it because I could look back on her life and know that if she could do it alone, I surely could do it.  My favorite story is about a lady that my mom sat by in church and when someone would walk by, this lady would tell my mom all kinds of stories about them and say things that weren’t very nice.  My mom would just listen and think how awful to say such things until one day this lady said to my mom, “I’m so glad we are friends, we think just alike.”  This lady had assumed that my mom agreed because she listened.  Well, after that day, my mom never sat with her again.

Family is important!  Even though our home was broken, my mom taught me that family was important and it was important to love and honor my husband when I married.  She made sure I had teaching on the home, marriage and family.  When I did marry, she loved my husband as if he were her own son.  I am doubly blessed because my husband feels the same about her. Okay, triple blessed!  Both of my brothers love and treat my husband as if he were their own brother, and he the same.   The greatest joy that my mom has is when our family gets together for a meal or a holiday.  When she has everyone together under one roof, she is the happiest.  If one person is out of whack….that is heart wrenching for her. Family is everything to her!

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Mom with her great-grandchildren!

Be content!  Everyone has different gifts, likes and dislikes.  My mom is on the quiet side unless you get her to talking about her Savior, God’s Word, Her kids and grandkids.  When I was growing up, she didn’t do crafts, decorate, read novels, travel or play games.  If Pinterest and Facebook would have been around, that wouldn’t even be on the agenda anywhere, any time, any how.  She was busy working and taking care of three kids.  If someone came around that talked about what all they do in the way of how they spend their time, she would listen all day and ask questions about them.  She truly was interested in people and their lives and what they did.  Never wishing she were them, never wishing she could have or do what they did.  She would get just as excited to hear details of someones amazing trip or the new dress they bought.  She was content in who she was and what she had.  She never expected anything from anyone.

How you present yourself is important!  My mom has always dressed well.  Even when she had zero money for anything special. She always looked pretty whatever she was wearing.  Her biggest luxury for herself was getting her hair done.  Her hair was always perfect and still is.  Our clothes were always washed and pressed.  I still can hear her telling my brothers to tuck their shirt in when we were going somewhere.  Even when I married and in full time ministry, she would make sure my husband had the best shirts and ties possible.  How you present yourself is important, from your hair to your shoes.  That is something that is ingrained in me for sure!  Do I need to mention manners?  We may have not known the proper social etiquette for things, but we did have manners!

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Love your country! Mom has always stayed on top of the latest happenings in the world.  You can ask her any question about our government and she will know the answer.  She cares about the direction our country is going.  She makes her voice heard with her vote.  She reads things for herself to confirm her beliefs in something.  She weighs issues with God’s Word.  She taught me to love and honor our country.

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Those are the 10 things that my loving, hardworking, single mom taught me while growing up.  I could easily list 100 more, but, I will save that for another day.

Happy Mother’s Day to a very special mom!  I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the single moms out there who work hard at making a home and a living for you and your children.

Do you know  a single mom?

Is there something you can do for her to make her life a little bit easier on this Mother’s Day?