Happy Birthday, Empty Nest Blessed! My little blog is two years old today, and I’m overflowing with joy! Two years ago, I set out to bless others with a positive, upbeat focus on the empty nest season of life, while still honoring the significance of the sacred task of mothering that we all spent the last two decades doing. The desire in my heart to come alongside and encourage empty nesters during this season of life lives here in my little corner of the web, and it’s grown more than I ever imagined this year. Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. I (Still) Have A Lot to Learn.
Blogging is a business! Some very knowledgeable people helped me along the way this year. I’m so thankful for Cathy Tibbles, my website “barista,” who continues to give me technical and marketing advice and fix tech problems for me without ever making me feel dumb. (If you have a website that needs help, or you want to build a website but don’t know where to start, she is your woman.) My friend Steph Weibring, from Joy Creative Shop, taught me the basics of graphic design this year (I emphasize basics.) and continues to be a sweet encouragement. Valery Brennan taught me how to “do” Pinterest as a blogger, and I will be forever grateful. Lee Cordon of DoSayGive continues to inspire me. She does this job with integrity and authenticity, and I’m grateful for her example. Having beautiful, professional images on my site is important to me, and my precious photographer, Megan Weaver, delivers every time. She, and my makeup artist, Bebe Tran, make me look way better than I really do.
2. If you Chase Meaning in Your Life, you’re Gonna be Scared.
I knew when I started Empty Nest Blessed that if I was going to challenge my readers to learn, grow, and chase meaning in this stage of life, I was going to have to do it myself.
This year I’ve had some amazing opportunities. I’ve had articles published (here’s my latest), and I was even interviewed on a nationally-syndicated morning show! I did my first Facebook Live and got to work with some great brands. I’ve challenged myself to be more vulnerable and to share more of my heart and my life in my posts.
Truthfully, each of those things scared me. Y’all, I’ve decided there’s simply no way around fear if we want to grow. We should expect it, face it, and (dare I say) embrace it. Fear is our friend. Why? It always brings its buddy growth to the party. They always go together. Always.
3. Family is THE Best.
My son, Connor, is the best writer I know, and he continually inspires me. (This is the kid who once said, “Mom, what makes you a good blogger is that you like to give advice.” Me: “Okaaaayyyyy. Thank you, I think.”) I’m thankful for my sweet daughter, Becca, who is the Rory to my Loralei. She encourages me all the time and tells all of her college friends to follow Empty Nest Blessed. (Hilarious, I know!) I’m grateful for my son, Weston, for his love for me, and for marrying beautiful Sarah and giving me another daughter. (And the world’s cutest Granddog!)
My patient mom and dad sit and listen to me go on and on about Empty Nest Blessed for hours. They always act interested, even though they probably don’t understand half of what I’m telling them. 🙂 With three kids still at home, my sister, Jenn, is still in the thick of parenting, yet, she tells her friends about Empty Nest Blessed and encourages me as only a sister can. My sister-in-law, Laura is a PR genius, and she’s given me some great ideas. (If you need PR, marketing, or communication help, she’s your gal.) My cute mother-in-law “shares” every one of my posts on Facebook, which means the world to me.
Finally, I don’t know where I’d be without my ever-patient and supportive husband, Bob, who proofreads every and every post (even the ones about makeup and fashion) and tells me they are “awesome.” My husband and my children fill my life with love. Without them, there would be no empty nest, and for sure, it wouldn’t be as blessed.
4. Friends are the Second Best.
I have so many supportive friends, and I’m grateful for their encouragement. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving them out, but I have to thank a few who’ve been exceptionally kind. Big hugs to Joanie P., Mandy A., Susan K., Gale E., Marty F., Anita B., Laura Beth G., Debra R., Hope L., Tricia D., Wendy H., and Gail F.
When I think about my supportive friends, there is one who stands above the rest. I work in a business where the number of “likes” and comments on every blog and social media post matters, and I’m so grateful to my friend Shannon, who likes every single post I put on any social media. (Seriously, if you see one of my posts on Facebook or Twitter with only one “like,” it’s Shannon!) I hope each of you has a cheerleader like Shannon in your corner.
5. I’d be Nothing Without my Faith.
Although Empty Nest Blessed is not a blog specifically about faith, I hope you see my faith reflected in everything I do and say here. I’m grateful to the Lord for loving me, saving me, guiding me, and reminding me that my season of life and circumstances may change, but He is my unchanging Refuge and Rock. He placed the idea for Empty Nest Blessed into my heart and gave me the desire to come alongside other women to encourage and bless them in this season of life. It was a gift I had not been planning on or intentionally preparing for, but as I look back, I see He laid the foundation for it throughout my life. He is my everything.
6. I Need You.
I’m so thankful for each of you! I spend a lot of time thinking and praying about how to bless and encourage you all, whether it’s with posts about how to navigate the empty nest, strengthen your marriage, pray for or parent your adult kids, find just the right gift, or even an outfit or new mascara that will make you look and feel fantastic. Thank you for supporting Empty Nest Blessed and sharing it with your friends. (Sharing it with others is actually one of the best things you can do to help me, so thank you especially for that!) As a way to thank you for your love and support, I’m giving away a $100 Nordstrom gift card to one of you! Simply follow the steps below to collect entries. Even if you’ve already done the things specified in the entries, like follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you can still click those entries to collect points and enter. The giveaway runs through Tuesday, 11/21 at midnight and I’ll be announcing the winner in Wednesday’s post. Good luck, and thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Have you explored my Holiday Gift Guide yet? I just added a bunch of new items to it, so if you haven’t checked it in a few days, you might want to head back there. This gift card would be a great way to jump-start your holiday shopping.
Please keep your comments coming! I absolutely thrive on them. Is there something you want me to write about, research, or explore? How can I bless and encourage you on your journey? We’re in it together, sweet friends, and I want to continue to help you make the empty nest season of life one of joy and blessing.
P. S. You won’t want to miss next week! On Monday I’m sharing how you can warm up the holidays with some easy-to-prepare homestyle family meals. On Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (CST), I’ll be doing a Facebook Live with my good friend, author and registered, licensed dietitian, Wendy Howard. We’ll be talking all about how to maintain your weight and stay healthy during the oh-so-tempting (and stressful) holiday season. If you’re not sure how to watch it, consider signing up for my email list. I’ll be sending out instructions on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, you’ll want to check in and catch my post with links and discount codes for all of the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. No need to search all over the web – come here first and get an overview, then click through on my links to go right to the sites you love. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your precious families and remember to build up and bless your kids while they’re home! xoxo
Photo by Megan Weaver.