What a year! I don’t know about you, but 2022 has been a year of great joy and also a year of some serious struggles! At 57, I’m thankful to be not just alive but also to be able to enjoy the sweet seasons of life that the uniquely empty nest brings! As the calendar turns over to 2023, it’s a great time to look back, give thanks, and learn from 2022. I hope sharing the joys and struggles of my year will encourage you to do the same!
If you’ve been hanging around here for a while now, you know that my faith is the defining thing in my life (Colossians 1:18). Nothing happens to me without passing through the hands of my Father, and I can rest in that! He doesn’t waste a moment, a person, or an occurrence (Lamentations 3:37). He will not allow a challenge unless He has a purpose for it in my life. My job? To rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Living life like that brings joy, peace, and freedom!
Many thanks to my sweet and supportive family for their permission to share these images!
Joys of 2022
God answered so many long-time prayers in 2022, and I’m beyond thankful!
First Grandbaby on the Way!
When we were at the beach last June, our son Weston & daughter-in-law Sarah told us we were going to be grandparents for the first time in January 2023! Later, they found out they were having a girl!
In November, I hosted a baby shower for beautiful Sarah, along with some other family members, and it was such a sweet time!
Coral Pink Cashmere Sweater (I’m wearing XXS — fits TTS. Now just $69.50) | Pink Neck Ruffle Shirt (underneath) | Spanx “Perfect Pant” Black Ankle Pants | Black Suede Booties (Amazon Version HERE) | Baby Shower Water Bottle Labels (These were a big hit!)
We’re on serious baby watch now! Let me know in the comments if you’d like a baby shower post next week, okay?
Our son, Connor, got engaged to precious Abby this fall! They met while undergrads, both studying abroad. It wasn’t a love connection then, but during the pandemic, they reconnected online, and things moved on from there! We are thrilled for them and adore Abby. Wedding summer 2023!
One of the sweetest things has been the way Abby and her family have included me in the wedding planning process. In early December, I was asked to join Abby, her mom, sister, and best friend for a weekend of wedding dress shopping in Chicago!
ON LEFT: So Slimming 360 Juliet Pants (Navy & in other colors – now $34.99!) | Supersoft Cable Knit Crewneck Sweater | Faux Fur Collar Quilted Jacket (Removable collar! Now 25% off!) | Fair Isle Scarf (sold out, but matching Pom Beanie & Sweater (select sizes) still available.) | Earrings
ON RIGHT: So Slimming 360 Juliet Pants (Navy & in other colors – now $34.99!) | Fair Isle Embroidered Yoke Boatneck Pullover (Now 32% off) | Similar Fair Isle Sweater, Tunic Length (Now 55% off) | Fair Isle Pearl Embellished Scarf (Now 50% off) | Matching Fair Isle Pearl Embellished Pom Beanie | Earrings
Mamas, if you’re planning your daughter’s wedding right now, I highly encourage you to consider including the groom’s mom! It meant the world to me! They continue to ask my opinion about things like wedding invitations, china for the reception, etc. It has been such a lovely and unexpected gift!
Watching Our Daughter Thrive!
Amazon Orolay Midi-Length Down Jacket with Faux Fur Trim Hood | Burberry Cashmere Scarf (Walmart Version HERE)
In mid-December, we traveled up to King’s Dominion in Virginia, to see Becca perform at WinterFest! It’s always so much fun to see your kids do what God created them to do, and we’ve been privileged to travel the country watching Becca over the years! This summer, we also traveled to Indiana to watch her perform.
This coming spring, she’ll be on tour with a children’s show and finishing up her auditions for grad school. She starts in the fall.
Our 35th Anniversary
This year, Bob and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary! He is the Lord’s greatest gift to me!
We’re (Part-Time) Waco Residents!
Surprise! This fall, Bob and I bought a condo in Downtown Waco! We’re Baylor season ticket holders for football and basketball, as well as actively involved in Baylor University as a whole, and we’ve been looking for the perfect spot to buy for several years now.
At just 588 square feet, our condo is a tiny little thing with one bedroom and bath, a living area, and a galley kitchen, and it will be the perfect little pied à terre for us! (Our HOA prevents us from renting it out.) We are totally gutting it and remodeling it, and we’ve been having so much fun with that! It’s walkable to so many restaurants, the new Foster Basketball Pavillion, and even Magnolia Market & the Silos. More details in the coming months!
Struggles of 2022
There were definitely some joys and struggles in 2022! Some just happened, and some were my own fault 😢!
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faithproductes steadfastness.”James 1:2
Bob and I love to cruise! Like many of you, we waited patiently through the pandemic, postponing and postponing our planned cruises. Last July, we finally took the plunge with a short week-long itinerary from NYC to Bermuda & back. On day three, we came down with Covid! We spent the rest of the week in our cabin, with 5-star room-service meals and medical care from the ship’s doctors. It was no fun, but definitely could’ve been worse! We’re done with cruising for a while. 🥴
On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian battered our beloved Sanibel Island, including beautiful Casa Ybel Resort, where we own two condos. This stunning spot has been a part of my life since I was a teenager, and it has been a painful loss. We are battling the insurance companies on a daily basis, and it’s an ongoing struggle. We’re still not sure what the long-term outcome will be.
Suzy Lost It – TWICE
Lest you think your girl Suzy is perfect in any way…
Have you ever lost it? Like, watching yourself from above and asking yourself, “Who is this person, and why is she acting like this?” I lost it with my precious firstborn this year(pictured above), and it is one of the most painful memories of the year. Remember: The toothpaste cannot go back into the tube once you squeeze it out.
Then, a month or so after that incident, I completely lost it with another person, and I did it in front of two of my kids. Both victims have been gracious and kind to forgive, and I was and am embarrassed and humbled beyond belief. It was a good reminder of my need for daily dependence upon God to control my every thought, word, and deed.
“No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of dealdy poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”James 3:8-10
We’re all a work in progress, my friends, and I am no different!
We Lost Bob’s Dad
After a 10-year+ battle with dementia, we lost Bob’s dad in November. It was a long, painful goodbye, and we will miss him. Knowing he is fully restored in body, mind, and spirit and in the presence of his Savior has brought us joy in the midst of our grief.
The Joys and Struggles of 2022
Looking back at the joys and struggles of 2022 has been such a good exercise for me. I would encourage you to do it too! Take a few minutes, flip back through the photos on your phone, or even just sit down with a piece of paper, and take stock of your year! What is the Lord trying to teach you? What has He been preparing you to do? What do you need to work on as the calendar page turns?
Moving forward, I’m excited about all that is to come in 2023! I would love to know what you would like to see from me here at Empty Nest Blessed. Would you like more fashion, beauty, tech, empty nest, or other content? Please leave me a comment and let me know!
Happy New Year, my friends! Thank you for an amazing year. I’m so grateful to you for shopping with my links, supporting the brands I (very carefully) choose to work with, and encouraging me with your words. You’re the reason I do what I do, and I feel so privileged that you allow me to share my life with you. I will always do my best to be vulnerable, authentic, and honest. It’s my prayer that the courage it takes for me to do that encourages, inspires, challenges, and blesses you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. xoxo