A Perfect Picture Of Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year. The cooler weather is such a relief after the stifling heat of summer. I love a crackling fire in the fireplace. We have an outdoor firepit now. So we can build a fire outside an roast marshmallows on our back patio. But one of my favorite things about fall is the glorious changing colors of the foliage. Since we live in Tennessee the beauty is just breathtaking. We used to live out in the country in the rolling hills of middle TN. It just doesn’t get any more beautiful than the country in TN in October. I wish it was October now so I could share some pictures of some of the prettiest off the beaten path hidden away places that I know. I will do that when the colors are at their height of color next month. Today’s challenge is to share pictures of what says Fall to me. Nothing says it better than those changing leaves. So I grabbed a few pictures of spots around Nashville in the Fall. Enjoy!

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Empty Nest Bucket List – Check

This past weekend I got to do something I’ve been wanting to do for about 23 years. I didn’t even know I wanted to do this until my husband moved me to Tallahassee Florida, his hometown, in 1989. I discovered a little something called COLLEGE FOOTBALL and fell in love when the Florida State University Seminole Football team bug bit me. We lived in Tallahassee for a LONG time. I constantly cheered on my NOLES through the glorious 90s, a GREAT decade of Seminole football. We lived on campus at one time one block away from the football stadium. One job I had was in the drive thru of a bank facing the football stadium. So I stared at it every single day. Another job I had was one road over from Stadium Dr. I could hear the marching band practice every day. Yet not one time did I ever step foot into Doak Campbell Stadium – until this past Saturday – 15 years after moving away from Tallahassee. It was boiling hot but I had the time of my life. It was definitely an opportunity to check off an item on my bucket list.

For those of you that have been reading here regularly you may have noticed that this is our first trip of our Empty Nest Adventures. It was a great start. I came home floating on a cloud. I’m definitely gonna like this Empty Nest thing. Most definitely!! No doubt about it!

It’ll take a while before that smile comes off my face! That is a happy Seminole!!

A Mother’s Heart Journey

I’m doing a lot of research this week on how to live in an Empty Nest. So I know I’ll be writing about that quite a bit in the weeks to come.

But, for now, I’m still living in yesteryear. I contemplated participating in Wordless Wednesday today. Then as my thoughts evolved I decided to just share a bit from the past. This period of life is about reminiscing and that’s just what I’ve been doing. As any mother of a high school senior can tell you we wonder daily how we got to this point of our lives so fast. I have some regrets in my parenting over the last 18 years. And I made some decisions affected my family in a negative way. And I’ve done a lot of wishing the days away. I have done this hundreds of times in 18 years. I am trying to remember to soak in every minute possible now in these last days we have together before my babies spread their wings and fly from my nest.

But an interesting thing happened when my kids started high school at East Literature Magnet High School. Because we had always been a soccer family I became the year round soccer mom. Girls played in the fall and Guys played in the spring. Most of those times I was also at practices. So, I naturally became friends with Michael and Lauren’s friends. I have counseled them and encouraged them when they needed it. I’ve also become friends with teachers/coaches. This was the part I really treasured because they were open in telling me what my kids were doing in school. I could clearly see what was happening on the tennis courts, golf courses and soccer fields. But this gave me a chance to check up on them while they were in class. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”!

So now suddenly all of those people are GONE! Just like that! A snap of the fingers and the vanish. I know there will be new friends that the kids may want to bring home from college on the weekeneds. So, I’ll get a small bit of that back. But now it’s not fair to my kids to stay as involved or as they would say “all up in my business”.

Where am I supposed to find someone struggling with the approaching empty nest? When I found out about my Fibromyalgia I went to the internet and starting looking around and finding people like me. But from my initial searches I’m not finding much. I’m not really even sure what I’m looking for. If anyone has any leads or suggestions please let me know here via the comments section. (By the way, I am a Bible Study leader in our church Women’s Ministry. That helps some.)

Take a look at these and tell me how we got from picture one to picture two for each child. I blinked and missed so much. NO MORE BLINKING ALLOWED!!

Michael then and now.

Lauren then and now.

And them together!

And the final act in high school. This brings us right up to a fork in the road. Lauren will go one path. Michael will go the other path. And Mom and Dad will still be standing at the fork waiting for them to return.

So Much Pride

I can’t believe that I am now writing you as a mother of two college students. I still don’t know how that happened. I hung on to denial until the second I saw the graduates start walking into the arena Saturday afternoon.

That was the moment when the first tear fell and my denial went floating into space like a helium balloon. As I sat there and looked down on all the graduates of East Literature Magnet School’s class of 2012 I felt so much pride.

I was so happy for them. There are a lot of great kids sitting in that group. I found myself thinking how much I was gonna miss my kids’ friends and even some of the teachers. I knew they were all sitting there wearing those red cap and gowns and sitting tall with pride. They all worked hard making sure all of their high school requirements were met so that they could sit there on the edge of the rest of their lives.

When the 4th row stood up I knew what was coming.

See the smile on Lauren’s face. I was so proud of her. I think they were both proud of themselves and each other. My heart was so full I couldn’t possibly had any more space for love and pride. It was full and running over. I kept thinking back over the years of school. When it was their turn to walk across the stage I wanted to pause time so they could move in slow motion.

And there she is! Look at the smile on Michael’s face. I choose to believe that smile is happiness in watching his sister receive the reward.

And there goes my baby boy. I hope that they always remember that feeling they felt when they received the reward for their hard work.

We had some friends sitting on the front row so they took some pictures for us. Our digital camera had pretty good zoom but they pictures were all so fuzzy because of the distance.

Lauren took this one herself after getting back on the floor. She sent it to us from her cell phone. Don’t you love the smiles on their faces? Interestingly enough the matched the smiles on our faces up in the stands. Smiles of pride and joy!

 

 

Capture The Sun

I haven’t participated in You Capture in a long time. And I always enjoyed it. So, I’m gonna get back into the practice of participating. Each week Beth gives a theme and on Thursdays you post pictures of that theme.

This week’s theme is “Sunshine” and we all know how much I love taking pictures of the sun. So I knew I had to post about that. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve taken over the years.

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean on our Costa Cruise in 2010. Breathtaking that night.

This was taken on the way to a soccer game the other night. I positively adore taking pictures of the sky. You can see that if you look at my Facebook.

This was taken in 2008 during a Hunter family Ski Trip in the mountains of North Carolina. I specifically remember tell Ron to stop the car so I could get out and get this shot. It just takes my breath away with the beauty.

If you like to share pictures on your blog consider clicking the button in my sidebar or follow any links in this post and joining Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry and jump on board. The pictures are always breathtaking.

 

Lauren’s Senior Banquet Night Blessing

Lauren,

The first time I had an inkling that you were gonna be a handful was when I was seven months pregnant with you and you were insisting that you were ready to be born and were determined to have your way. Ten days of battling in the hospital with many doctors to change your mind did the trick. Then you decided “find, then I won’t be born at all” and didn’t want to come. That should have been a warning. But the day we finally convinced you that you weren’t in charge and you were finally born and I saw your perfect face I forgot all of that and instantly fell for you hard and fast. My heart swelled once again as I realized this was also one of the top favorite days of my life. I enjoyed snuggle you close and watching you sleep. It didn’t take me long to realize my life was going to be a different world. You have been a bright spot in my life.

Aside from the beginning you were very spirited. Your scream ( no merely a cryP was recognizable to all. It could be heard from the nursery at Huntington Oaks FWB Church all the way into the sanctuary while daddy was preaching. YOu let us know pretty quickly when something wasn’t going your way and you need it corrected ASAP. There have been many times that this was hard to handle. But what I’m realizing now is that God planned for your personality to be like that to serve you well in the future. You are strong. Many times stronger than me. You are a social butterfly. That too has been a lesson to me. You have been striving all of your life to be independent. Now as I look on the horizon and see Lipscomb University I know that all of those things will be a great asset for you. I’ve learned a lot in being your mother. And as I think of finally having to do what you’ve wanted for so – for me to let go of you and let you fly on your own – I’m sure that you are gonna be just fine.

You will never get far enough away from my love for you, my arms will always be open and ready to hold you when you need them to, my heart will be ready to accept any talks you need to have and I will always be on the sidelines cheering you on. You will never get so far that I’m not just a thought away. You will also never get so far from God’s heart and you can never escape his love for you. When you are unsure about something talk to Him. He has a plan for you as your life verse promises:

Jeremiah 29:11-13 I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.12 Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I .will listen to you.13 You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me!

What a pair the two of you are? Brother and Sister by birth. Friends by love and affirmation.

His plan will be better than anything you can ever dream. Make sure you stay in touch with hm as you search for the goals in your life, his will for your life and that plan is already written.

There are many things I want for you in your future. Many of these you have heard from us all of your life. i wish you a lifetime of wise decisions, following God’s will, using your talents for his glory, contentment with your life’s calling and love – so much love that it overflows your heart. And as you go off on your own and someday as you raise your own family never forget

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.6 Always remember these commands I give you today.7 Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.8 Write them down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them on your forehead to remind you,9 and write them on your doors and gates.

He will bless you as he has blessed us WITH you. I love you baby girl – nothing will ever change that.