Empty Nest Blessed Year in Review | Joys & Struggles of 2022

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
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photo collage of 2022 highs and lows

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!

couple wearing mom and dad hats holding a sonogram picture and standing on the beach

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!

couple announcing it's 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?

An Engagement

enagement photo

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.

woman wearing cabi fall 2022 collection red outfit

cabi Rosy Top (Floating Poppies) | cabi Cavalier Cardigan | Jeans (old) | Similar Red Block Heel Sandals | Red & Gold Earrings

In November, Becca and I took a quick girls’ trip to NYC. We saw Into the Woods, shopped, and ate our way through a rainy, chilly New York weekend! You can read more about it HERE.

Our 35th Anniversary

couple posing in a backyard on their 35th anniversary

Cornflower Lolita Isabel Dress | Nude Block Heel Sandals

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

Covid Cruise

This was the day before I got Covid. Bob: “Looking at this picture again, you do look a little ill.” 🙄

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. 🥴

Hurricane Ian

woman standing in front of an open car trunk wearing lilly pulitzer beach please sweater

Beach Please Cotton/Acrylic Sweater | Initial Pendant Necklace | Faux Sapphire Earrings

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…

woman and grown son in front of christmas tree

Fleece Funnel Neck Tunic Turtleneck | Black & Gold Earrings | Red Lipstick

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

Suzy Mighell

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33 Comments

  1. What a beautiful person you are inside and out— and you have a beautiful family! I loved this post— and I loved how you admitted that you lost it with two people you love. Thank you for sharing that— as we all struggle! And I admire you and your candor so much! Thank you for being open and honest -it is very refreshing! We all make mistakes and I hope you know what a kind and caring person you are! Thank you for all you do! Love your blog! 😇 god bless and happy new year!

    1. Lisa,

      Thank you so much for your precious comment! You made me 😭!!! It was hard to admit that, but being honest with you is so important to me. There is absolutely no way to do what I do – to sustain it – without being my authentic self. Everything you see on ENB – for better or worse – is me. When people ask me what the hardest part of my job is, I tell them it’s having the courage to put myself out there – for better or worse – and trust that the Lord will work through me in your lives.

      I’m so grateful to you for your kindness and for joining me on this journey! We’re a work in progress – and we’re in it together!

      xoxo
      Suzy

      1. You are such a kind and caring young lady! Thank you for shining gods light —and for all you do! Your family and all of us are blessed by you ! Happy new year!!!😊❤️🎆thank you again for your sweet response and all you do for all of us! 😊

  2. Thank you for your openness and authenticity. I have also had a year of joy and struggle. I have felt very alone at times but know that God is in control and has a plan. You have been so helpful in being real and not claiming to have it all together. New Years Blessings to you!!!

    1. Amy,

      So sweet of you to say, Amy! I certainly don’t have it all together, and I’m grateful that the courage it took to be honest was an encouragement to you. You are the reason I do what I do, and I appreciate your taking the time to let me know that it was a blessing!

      Thank you for being here and sharing this empty nester journey with me!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  3. Thanks for being real and sharing your triumphs and challenges – we’re all works in progress and can learn from each other! Would be fun to learn about baby shower details and also mother of the groom planning and responsibilities. Keep up the great work – I learn so much and appreciate your insight, honesty and creativity!

    1. Lisa,

      Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words and your feedback! Baby details coming, and MOG too – as much as I am given permission to share! Happy New Year to you, sweet Lisa, and thank you for your comment!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  4. I love this post Suzy! Thank you for being so open and honest and true to yourself. I also plan to take a look back and reflect on 2022; I too have had great joys and great sorrows. But I know it is all part of God’s plan and I trust Him in everything. Wishing you and your family a blessed and Happy New Year!

    1. Helen,

      Thank you so much for your comment! The Lord is about the business of making us more like Him, and I am so grateful!

      I am so glad you’re going to take a look back and reflect! Persevere even when it’s painful – it will be so worth it!

      I’m so grateful for your comment and that you allow me to share my empty nester journey with you! Thank you for reading and following along!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  5. Dear Suzy,
    This was such an inspiring post. Thank you for being so transparent with us. Social media so frequently only shows the great and glorious moments of peoples’ lives, and it’s humbling and encouraging to read about your mistakes and your struggles as well as your happy, successful moments. You make it okay for the rest of us to fail and be able to admit it. You make it okay for all of us to be human and I so appreciate that about you. Keep up the good work – we all feel like you’re one of our dear friends journeying along with us through this unpredictable, sometimes-difficult, sometimes-joyful life. God bless you!
    -Marie

    1. Marie,

      I’m not crying, you’re crying! 😭😭😭 Thank you for your kind comment!

      I think we all “fill in the gaps” when we look at other people’s social media posts – I know I do – and we somehow fill it in with their lives being perfect and ours wanting somewhat! Trust me; I’m just like you…a daily work in progress that the Lord is hopefully using in spite of my faults and failures!

      Your encouraging words mean so much to me. I do consider you all to be my dear friends, and take that honor and responsibility so seriously. I’m so happy that you can see that!

      Thanks again for your encouraging words. They meant the world to me. And thank you for reading and following along on the journey! We’re in it together, Marie!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  6. Suzy,
    I have followed you for a few years and you brighten my days! Thanks for being you, and may God abundantly bless you and your family. Happy New Year!
    Christi

  7. I loved your post! I am a year older than you and always enjoy your posts. I appreciate your honesty with your year in review. You encouraged me to do one too. I look forward to next year with you … you have a wedding and a grand baby coming… so exciting! We just found out we are going to be grandparents for the first time due in 2023. God bless you and your family and Happy New Year!

    1. Martine,

      Thanks so much for your comment! What fun that we’re going to become grandmothers together this year! I’m so glad you enjoyed the (very honest!) post.

      Thank you so much for reading Empty Nest Blessed and for sharing the empty nester journey with me!

      Happy New Year!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  8. Great post. One of your best. I love your openness and humble spirit. It is HARD for me sometimes to not nag my adult children. I want to be the positive, encouraging friend by their side but…I have to remind myself how patient God is with me every day. So excited about your first granddaughter and the upcoming wedding.

    1. Laura,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

      Parenting adults is a huge change, right? But the stakes couldn’t be higher. I’ve seen people lose the relationship they want with their adult kids because they couldn’t control their tongues. We’re all growing and working on it, and I think a humble heart and honesty with our kids is the only way to be. I try to lead with love and be quick to ask forgiveness when I mess up – which I do!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! Let me know if there’s something else you’d like to see me write about, okay? You know I’ll do my best to be honest!

      Happy New Year! Thanks so much for sharing your empty nester journey with me!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  9. Have a healthy and happy New Year! This is such a beautiful post. Congratulations on becoming a grandma soon and your son’s wedding this Summer! Love always seeing how supportive you are to your daughter’s career. It is so nice to see you go explore different places and the fun outfits/customs she is always wearing. You are so sweet and have a beautiful family. I wish you resolve the issues with your condos in Sanibel and hope you get to go back and be with your parents. My deepest condolences to Bob and the whole family for his Dad’s passing. Have a blessed New Year!

    1. Kattia,

      You are such a sweet friend! Thank you so much for your kind words. I know you’re devoted to your precious family too, and they’re so blessed to have you as their mama!

      Thank you for your kind good wishes! It’s going to be an exciting year for our family! I’m so grateful to you for following along with my empty nester journey!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  10. Happy New Year Suzy!
    I love how vulnerable and open you are! I am so hard on myself (recovering perfectionist) and it’s helpful to know that I am not alone in being imperfect. I love all of the topics you cover. I have been an empty nester for four years, and am still struggling with having my “boys” gone and finding my new identity. I struggle with knowing how to connect with my kids as adults and not “mothering” them. My two boys are strong, independent men and I know I need to connect with them on a different level. I appreciate your wisdom!

    1. Nan,

      I think the fact that you’re struggling with it is a great sign! I hope you’re honest with your boys and tell them you’re trying really hard. Ask them to help you and let you know (gently, if possible) when you overstep! I think that will really mean a lot to them.

      If you’re a recovering perfectionist, you know you’ll never be perfect, and I hope you take great comfort in the fact that the Lord’s mercies are “new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Your boys aren’t perfect either, and it’s so good for them to see you work on this aspect of your character!

      I hope you’ll consider reading some of the things I’ve written about finding your purpose in the empty nest! I’m actually speaking as a part of an (online) conference called the Graceful Empty Nesters conference on that very thing in mid-February. Stay tuned right here for details on how you can be a part of that. I think it will really help you!

      Thanks so much for your honesty and humility. We’re all works in progress, for sure! I’m so grateful to you for walking this road along with me. Happy New Year, sweet Nan!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  11. Suzy, what a wonderful post. Has me thinking that’s for sure. And, I have really gained a new respect for you after your admitting to losing it with someone. Sometimes I feel I’m the only one that thinks things like that or does it. Patience is something I need to work on. Your honesty must have been difficult, I know it would have been for me.
    Congratulations on getting to become a grandma. What a wonderful blessing.

    Happy New Year!

  12. Juliet,

    Oh, my word, I am SO not perfect! I not only lost it with my precious son, but then when I lost it with someone else, I did it in front of two of my other kids. It was terrible and so painful. I think it had to be so that I would really learn my lesson. Pain is one of God’s best teachers! (Sadly!) We all need to work on patience, and I love it that you are acknowledging that and working on it – just like I am!

    We’re on serious baby watch right now! So excited!!! I’m working on the post about the baby shower, and it’s so much fun!

    Happy New Year, Juliet! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and for sharing your thoughts with me. It really means a lot to me.

    xoxo
    Suzy

  13. Hi Suzy,

    Happy New Year! Excited to hear grandbaby news!

    I finally was able to read your blog. It was comforting to hear someone else with highs and lows during 2022. Some of my lows, I’m still struggling with, however I know God is right there beside me helping me through. Thank you for this blog post.

    Excited to follow along in 2023! As a grandparent to a 4 year old and 6 month old, I look forward to some posts in this area! My friends who were grandparents made me aware of the enormous love you’ll feel. When it happens to me, I finally understood what they were talking about!

    Nancy xo

    1. Nancy,

      Thank you so much for sharing my joy about becoming a grandparent! I told Bob that we’d finally made it past the “Honeymoon Phase” of our empty nester years! We’re excited for this precious new phase in our lives!

      Thank you for being such a sweet friend, Nancy, and such a faithful ENB reader! I’m grateful for you!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  14. Suzy, I’m just a little late catching up on my reading so I just read this post. It truly touched my heart.❤️ I said something cruel to my second born son at Christmas. I have apologized and he graciously accepted my apology but I’m still struggling with mothers guilt. I am ashamed of my choice of words and how they can wound someone you love. Just knowing I’m not the only one that “lost it” is helping me feel better. Thanks for being raw and real in your writing.

    1. Gina,

      I am so sorry. I can feel your pain coming through your words, and I understand. It can happen to any of us. Somehow God chose imperfect people like us to raise the imperfect people that are our children!

      I know your humility meant a lot to your son. You modeled for him (that’s TRUE parenting!) the right thing to do in that situation. When he does something like that himself (and chances are he will at some point), he’ll have your example to look back on.

      Thank you for sharing your struggle Gina! Big hugs from me.

      xoxo
      Suzy

      The pain of a big mess up like that is God’s way of helping us remember it – and not repeat it!

  15. Hi Suzy! I’m just catching up on blog posts. It’s been a chaotic few weeks around our house with college graduations, unknowns about “what’s next”, bowl game participations, Christmas festivities, and let’s throw in winter illnesses 😵‍💫. Anyway, I am just now working my way out of all of that, and just read this post. I can’t thank you enough for this one, the pure honesty from the good to the hard is so real and so raw. Thank you for sharing all of it and reminding us that life is just that, a roller coaster of activity and emotion. But, if we keep God in charge of it all, he brings us through it and teaches us in the process. I love that your blog is about this empty nest stage. It’s been a difficult adjustment for me and you have helped ease the way. Cheers to another year and all that it holds. I am praying for you and your family and looking forward to hearing more about your new additions! 💗💗
    Sic ‘em Bears 💚💛
    Go Cowboys 💙🤍

    1. Well sweet Allison, you are too kind to take the time to catch me up on your life and share such encouraging words! They meant so much to me. I want ENB to be a space of joy and encouragement, and sometimes that includes sharing hard things! I am definitely NOT perfect – the Lord has so much work to do on my heart, mind, and tongue!

      Thank you again so much! Hugs to you and Sic ’em!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  16. Oh my gosh. I was so happy (is that strange) to see that you lost it with someone. 2 people. That you loved. I had a horrible incident with my daughter’s dear friend and I wish I could go back in time and change it. I can’t. Apologies were accepted but things have changed forever. And it’s tough. Why can’t I bite my tongue like everyone else??? Major learning lesson for sure and I try every day to be a better person than the last. I thought I was the only crazy lady who lost it occasionally. Thank you Suzy. Love you! XO

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