As the parents of eight children for the last two years we have delighted in the fact that all of our Kids are grown. Just a few short years ago we celebrated being empty nesters and tried to figure out what to do with the extra bedrooms in our home. We seriously thought about downsizing and even took the time to look at some apartments in the neighborhood or something a little more trendy like a condo or loft towards downtown. When we saw the costs of some of the newer condos and maintenance free homes in the area we decided to stay put. Instead we turned the extra bedrooms into private offices for ourselves to be able to get a significant amount of work done at home.
After the kids left we settled into a routine that worked for the two of us. We took turns deciding what we were going to eat and who was going to cook it or whether or not we were going to go out to eat at one of our favorite local restaurants. At least six days out of the month we take advantage of a meal delivery service and cook our own delicious gourmet meals with Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. We schedule our vacations when we want to and not when the schools are out on fall, winter, spring or summer break. This is the life!
Before you pass judgement on me for being thrilled to be an empty nester, we do miss our children, but we are thankful they are grown. We especially miss the ones who live out of state and enjoy their visits. However knowing that their visits were temporary made the visits even more special. Before we knew it they were back on a plane and everybody went back to life as usual.
A month or so ago I got a call from my daughter who graduated from college in May, indicating that she was planning on moving back home. Around the same time, one of our boys announced that he was also moving back to the area to find a job. My life flashed before me and I wondered what it was like to have to parent again. I did not miss the late nights worrying about whether or not they had made it home safely or if they made it home by curfew. Having to hear the famous question..”Mom what's for dinner? Or last but not least, having to worry about whether or not we have on proper clothes in the house.
As a teenager I couldn’t wait to be grown. I just couldn’t wait to graduate high school, college and graduate school. I had the grand dream of landing a great job and having my own place. I never made plans to move back with my parents. It was time for me to be responsible for myself.
My daughter on the other hand said she didn’t want to grow up, and she wanted to be a child forever. After living on her own for a few months following graduation, she says: “Being a kid is fun but being a grown up involves having too many responsibilities. You have to pay bills and cook your own food! It’s just hard being an adult! You have to go to work every day and you even have to wear grown up clothes to work.”
For the last year I kept warning her that one day the summer part-time job would soon be over and she would have to work full time. Once she made the decision to move back she started looking for what she calls her “big girl job.” She quickly received several call backs and had several interviews. As the job offers began to come in her confidence increased especially since the salary went up with each job offer. She has officially landed her first full time job and starts on Monday. I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she realizes that there is no more Christmas and summer break.
Now that she is about to be employed, our conversations have changed. We are having discussions about benefits including health insurance, how to manage her money, tithing, saving and how to manage her bills which includes a student loan. We discussed credit and having a good credit score and investing money. Her head was about to explode and she simply says, "It’s too many decisions to make!’ What is interesting is how smart I am now when I wasn't so smart a few years ago. She readily admits that being grown up is not what it's cracked up to be and she would rather stay a kid like Peter Pan Or the Toys R Us kids.
I am thankful to have her back home and thankful that she has landed her first full time job. In recent years college graduates, especially minorities have been faced with being unemployed or underemployed which means they had to take jobs that did not require a four year degree. In addition, grown children have been moving back home more than my generation did.
If your adult children move back home, here are my suggestions for making sure the move is not permanent.
1. Teach and monitor financial skills – Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." It is important to make sure they have a bank account, a budget and the skills to manage their money. Teach them about tithing, saving, credit and charity. Check their bank account regularly to make sure they are saving up to live on their own.
2. Set a timeline – Once they move back in set a timeline for how long they will be living under your roof. Meet regularly to remind them of the deadline and ensure they are making the proper steps to move on their own.
3. Allow them to pay bills – Teach children what it is like to pay bills. If you haven’t already, turn over their cell phone bill or car insurance to them. Some parents will charge their children rent during the time they are at home and use the money to assist with a deposit on an apartment.
4. Give them responsibilities – Call them chores or whatever you want, but they should have some responsibilities within the household. Have them to cook meals, do housework, yard work or whatever you need done. Most importantly they must keep their own space clean and always clean up after themselves. Don’t make it too convenient and comfortable for them that they become lazy.
I am thankful for all of our children and we are blessed that as of Monday, all of them will be employed. Congratulations baby girl, you get to be a grown up big girl now!
While going through life’s changes such as illness or divorce, one may tend to think about all of the problems and heartache he or she is going through and forget to be grateful. There have been times in my own life when I was angry with the world, and I found myself complaining more. I wasn’t happy with my job, my wardrobe, my car or anything other thing I could find to criticize. I didn’t grumble or whine to others mainly because I hated when others grumbled openly to me about their circumstances.
It was not my personality to be unhappy, so I was determined to improve my moods and attitude. In my reading I discovered a gratitude journal was a great way to keep yourself thankful and in a positive state of mind. I had plenty of new journals around the house, so I picked out a lovely pink one to start recording grateful thoughts.
At the top of every page I wrote the date and the following statement: Today, I am grateful for __________________. My list seemed silly at first as I listed people, places and things. I was grateful for my children, my parents, and my friends. I was grateful for having a job, a closet full of clothes, a home. I was pleased my children were doing well in school. I was thankful for my financial blessings. I was glad I had sisters to talk to. Having enough money to buy Christmas gifts was comforting. Having a garage to park my car in when it was freezing cold was a blessing. Meeting new friends is refreshing. The list goes on and on. As I dedicated myself to writing down what I was grateful for I began to feel somewhat better about my life despite my predicament.
The more I began to show gratitude for what was going well in my life, the better life seemed. However, writing a gratitude list was not sufficient to make the real changes I desired in my life. My gratitude seemed dependent on finding enough items to write down to convince myself that life wasn’t so bad after all. I was starting to run out of things to write down, or found myself writing the same list over and over. Soon I began to write down what I wished to happen in my life that I could be thankful for. Soon my gratitude journal turned into a wish list. I was using my gratitude journal based on Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” I was going to speak good things into my life and thank God for each and every blessing.
You have to be careful with gratitude journals because you can easily give yourself credit for the positive things that happen in your life. The real reason I even had things to be grateful for in the first place was because of God’s grace and mercy. His grace and mercy was the reason I was not destroyed, but I was not showing my gratitude to Him. My prayer life at this point was pretty much having a list of things I needed God to do for me during my life transition. My prayer journal contained daily requirements I needed from God including emergency requests.
I know it’s hard, but start a gratitude journal and write down all the things you are grateful for even while you are going through difficult times. I remember a hymn that says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done.”
There are other benefits for focusing on what is going well in your life. Gratitude can help you feel better about your life overall giving you optimism about the future. Those who show gratitude have fewer health problems. Gratitude can also improve your sleep. In the article Counting Your Blessings: How Gratitude Improves your Health, there are five suggestions: 1) Keep a daily gratitude journal; 2) Use visual reminders – such as post it notes; 3) Find a gratitude partner; 4) Make a public commitment to be grateful; or 5) change your self-talk.
The late Maya Angelou has a famous quote: “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.” I agree with her. We have the ability to do something about the things we complain about. If circumstances are beyond our control, we can stay frustrated or move on to the areas we can control. By now you know that you cannot change anyone, however you can change your attitude about them. Don’t use up all of your energy complaining about others. Use your energy being thankful. Remember, gratitude can be expressed in many ways: through prayer, writing a gratitude list daily and through meditation. Whatever method you use, make the decision to add some gratitude to your day and watch the world become a better place. You will soon begin to realize just how blessed you are.
2 Corinthians 4:15(CEB) says, “All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory.
Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!
It was a regular Friday and after getting up early, working out, getting dressed, praying with my husband, and drinking a smoothie, off to work I went. My plans for the day included doing some database clean up. I was looking forward to having lots of quiet time to get my projects completed for the day.
Midway through the day, I was getting ready to warm up my lunch when my husband called. He was calling to tell me some new friends we had recently met (Jeff & Lilly) were in the area for a few days. What was special about their trip to the area was that they were flying their own airplane. After talking with my husband for a while they had mentioned what a great day it was for flying and wanted to take him out for a ride. My husband knew I would never forgive him if he had the adventure and left me out, so he called me to see if I could make myself available. Before he could get the question out, I had shut down my computer, grabbed my purse and keys and was halfway out the door.
Flying in a small plane was definitely on my bucket list and my adrenaline was off the chain thinking about the adventure that awaited us. Before I knew it I was home and then in the car with my husband and friends headed to the KCAC executive airport. When we saw the plane we just stood there in awe. Wow was all we could say. The rest I should say is history. We had an amazing escapade. Not only did we get a spectacular view, but there is something very special about flying in a small plane, it’s almost like you feel closer God.
First, my husband had the privilege of sitting in the co-pilot seat first and was able to experience the joy of flying the plane. I sat in the back in awe wondering what it felt like. I recorded so many pictures and videos on my phone that I ran out of memory. After deleting five or so apps, I was back in business. We flew about 30 miles to another airport and had lunch. We could barely eat we were so excited, but somehow I managed to eat the giant hamburger offered at the restaurant inside the mini airport. We even saw pictures of Obama when he had visited the airport a few years ago.
When we finished eating, it was my turn to learn how to fly. My friend Jeff informed me that I would not only get to do the take-off but I would also get to land the plane. My heart almost jumped out of my chest. After getting all buckled up and then putting on my headgear, I was ready to rock and roll. Wow…the joy of first of all being in the front of the plane seeing all of the technology is incredible. Before I knew it we were up in the air and I was actually driving the plane. You should have seen me flying across the lake; I thought I was in a movie. It was an experience I will never forget!
My husband has been going live on Facebook for some time, but I don’t like to film myself so I had not tried it. While we were eating, I set it up and did a couple of Facebook live videos. As our friends and family made comments about our adventure, I ran across a comment that had the letters YOLO. I thought it was a new way of saying LOL and didn’t pay much attention to it until somebody else put it on their comment. Whenever I don’t understand a social media acronym, I consult my social media expert, my daughter Addy. After she laughed at me for not knowing what it was, she informed me that it means You Only Live Once (YOLO). Thanks Addy!
Our airplane adventure was mind blowing for us. We thought we were going to have a quiet weekend with no excitement and we had the experience of a lifetime. I couldn’t help but thank God for send Jeff and Lilly our way. Just when we least expected it, God blessed us with generous friends who got as much joy out of our quest as we did. We had talked about doing something like that but figured it would be too expensive and we definitely thought we didn’t know anyone that even owned a plane. Look at God!
The more I thought about YOLO, I began to think about the other dreams and goals that I have for my life. I began to think about all of the thinks I have always wanted to do, but haven't done. Psalm 90:12 teaches us to "number our days" that we may present to God a heart of wisdom. My hubby and I are not getting any younger, so now is the time for us to live. King Solomon, is his wisdoms speaks in Ecclesiastes 8:15 (CEV), "So I think we should get as much out of life as we possible can. There is nothing better than to enjoy our food and drink and to have a good time. Then we can make through this troublesome life that God has given us here on earth."
I believe will all of my heart that God wants us to enjoy our life here on this wonderful earth that He created just for us. Yes, He wants us to work hard but He also wants us to enjoy the "fruits of our labor." Psalm 37:4 instructs us to "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Take it from me, blessings will come when you least expect them. What is on your list of things to do in this life? What are you waiting for? YOLO!
Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? Are you the one who sees the glass half full or are you the one who sees the glass half empty? Do you believe that bad luck seems to follow you wherever you go or that things never seem to work out for you? Or when things happen to you do you do them as temporary and things will always get better?
The pessimist.. You know her or him and work with them every day. You see them coming and you want to run the other way. You don’t want to answer the phone when you see their name on caller ID. You say to yourself…”Does anything good happen in their life?
Want to ruin a perfectly good day? Run into a pessimist. They will always have a list of things to complain about. What is going on in a pessimist’s mind? They tend to see events as inherently negative and discouraging. They anticipate undesirable outcomes or believe that the evil or hardships in life outweigh the good. When they add their negative self-talk to the equation it only gets worse. They feel like they have no control over what happens to them. Impossible is a word they use often.
On the other hand, the optimist is the one you want to see because they manage to uplift your spirits. They are the ones that are excited about their day and the possibilities that the day can bring. They are the ones who approach their problems from a position of empowerment. Adversity is nothing but a challenge that they are happy to conquer. They are a possibility thinker and believe that all things are possible.
As expected, being an optimist comes with many benefits. One such benefit is that optimism can improve physical health. We know that stress can be extremely dangerous to the body. Increased levels of stress have been linked to high levels of inflammation, weaker immune systems, increase in headaches, and a whole bunch of other physical symptoms. Even though optimist also experience stress, they seem to manage it better than others. They seem to deal with stress in such a way that it disappears faster than it does for most.
Martin Seligman author of Learned Optimism wanted to know whether optimists live longer than pessimists. He conducted a study and the results showed by age 45 pessimists were already less healthy than optimists. The pessimistic men had started to get sick younger and more severely than the optimistic men. And by the age of 60, pessimists were significantly sicker.
As it turns out, pessimists are more susceptible to depression, more likely to experience barriers to professional success, less likely to experience pleasure, more likely to endure challenges in their relationships, and more likely to get sick.
It just so happens to be flu season right now. Many of us have been instructed to get a flu shot in order to prevent one to two weeks of misery from the influenza virus. Our hope when we take the shot is that we will not get the flu. Studies show that pessimists have weaker immune systems which make them more susceptible to infectious diseases than optimists. In fact pessimists have twice as many infectious diseases and twice as many doctors’ visits than optimists. It’s just not healthy to be a pessimist!
Can people change from being a pessimist to an optimist? Seligman suggests that optimism may change over time, but the way people explain bad events tends to remain fixed throughout their lives. So if you are a pessimist is there hope for you? Regardless of what Seligman says, Matthew 19:26 reminds us: “But with God all things are possible.”
Here are six scriptures to move you from pessimism to optimism. Pray and meditate on them to protect yourself from negativity and pessimism and become more optimistic about your life.
1. Psalm 27: 1-3 - The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers cam upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
2. Psalms 25:15 (GNB) - I look to the Lord for help at all times, and he rescues me from danger.
3. Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
4. Philippians 4:6-7 - Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and request to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.
5. Philippians 4:12-13 (CEV) - I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. Christ gives me the strength to face anything.
6. Joshua 1:9 (CEV) - I've commanded you to be strong and brave. Don't ever be afraid or discouraged I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.
If you have lived with pessimism why not make the decision to become a possibility thinker and learn how to live in optimism.
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach