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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We are all made of "Better Stuff"

I am getting close to a real life changer, and I am happily, strangely calm. It's not like I am about to walk on the moon, or have a kidney transplant, I am just getting ready to close a chapter of my life and step into another.

First I would like to say that I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father that I was able to follow my heart for the last thirty years and stay at home with my children. It wasn't always easy and I know there was a lot of sacrifice from my husband to provide that blessing and to honor my choice. I am so grateful to have been able to follow my heart and I acknowledge the help I have been given.

I know where that blessing came from.

And now I open the door to new possibilities and new adventures. As I look back on the last thirty years I am grateful not only for being able to be with my children but so grateful for the people who have accompanied me on that journey. Women who stood shoulder to shoulder with me through breastfeeding and diapers, kindergarten and PTA.....helping me with my marriage, sharing their own trials and making me a better woman, mother and wife.
Those amazing people who cheered with me and cried with me......some that I have only met through letters and emails.....but who are just as important to me as those I see all the time. I am grateful to my Uncle who stoically, and unemotionally reminded me that I was made of better stuff the night before I was to give the eulogy for my mother. I walked to the podium the next morning knowing I could do hard things.....because I was made of better stuff. Words that course through my soul often. I will never forget those who came to the hospital when I had babies, when my children were in danger and when my parents were going through the end of their lives....I will never forget their faces as they came to my home for dinners, firesides, lunches and even a few funerals! Oh the incredible people who have left their imprint on my life forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I have changed so much over the last thirty years. Thank goodness right? But the biggest change in my life is realizing what I can do, what I can accomplish...the lives I can touch....what kindness can reap...and what unkindness can return. Oh how important that is....and that can only come with experience, and lessons learned and relearned.

I am grateful to all of those people along this journey who have taken the time to love me, teach me, laugh with me and cry with me. And mostly who have forgiven me for my shortcomings. Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give each other.

And so while it is sad to move on and say goodbye to every day mothering, I do it with great hope that the next part of my life will be as fulfilling as the last has been. My pattern has been to never give up and to pray as hard as I can to know what the Lord wants me to do. And then when I discern what He wants then to do all I can to follow that direction. What I am leaving behind is carefully locked in my heart as the best memories a person can have.

I have made a great many mistakes, I have not been the perfect mother or wife...I never thought I could be and sometimes I didn't want to be!! But my heart has always been with my family, I will always consider myself a wife and mother first because that is the desire of my heart. Now that role changes and I know I will handle that just like I have handled all the other changes in my life. I am confident in the abilities God has given me. And one ability He gives us is to survive and never give up......I will always try to encourage everyone around me to never give up.....that is the greatest lesson my earthly parents taught is what I see in my husband. I hope I have instilled it in my children.

Just as I have been helped.......I will return those blessings. I hope to mirror the kindness and love shown to me all these years.

So to all the people who have supported me along this journey.....I am a better person because of you. For all of you have been there when I needed it most and I am better for it. I learned from you what to do when tragedy to love, how to react to pain, how to celebrate and simply how to walk this life with honesty.

I consider myself blessed beyond all measure because of you. As they beautifully say in Texas, "I love all y'all!"

And to my husband a special thank you and my eternal love....he knows me best and still loves me. To my children, you will never know how grateful I am to you for letting me be your mom. You have given me such joy. I love you.

And never stop believing.....


  1. What a lovely, lovely post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. You are the real deal, Donna. The Best Stuff. {{Big Honkin' Texas Hugs}} I share your belief in having the spirit to get the hard stuff done and I so deeply admire your sense of gratitude through it all. blesssings and prayers ~ tanna
    How exciting! A new chapter! I look forward to seeing it unfold... I know He has a plan.

  3. You are amazing! I love how you can write just what you feel, but you make it sound so real! Thanks for sharing your writings with us.

  4. Donna - Tam the MM - very beautifully said...thanks for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and heart with us.

    Just have to ask - this sounds a bit like a retirement goodbye... :)

    Whatever your plans are - enjoy is meant to be enjoyed - not just endured.

  5. Just beautiful, much wisdom and truth.

    I made this passage a little over ten years ago, and it has been a rewarding (though not easy) one.

    With your attitude, your empty nest will come up roses!


  6. Donna - You are a beautiful writer and through your words I know that you are such a beautiful person!
    I literally cried through this because isn't it such a blessing to have so many wonderful people to help you and support you through life.
    Seasons change and we must change with them gracefully and gratefully.
    Your words here ring true and they really are full of inspiration and wisdom.
    I am so glad I know you through blogging - you help me to remember what is wonderful about life!

  7. People are drawn to you, Donna. We will follow you wherever life takes you. Thanks for the ride. Reading your blog I feel like the passenger in a convertible old T-bird, riding down the road with you, laughing, my hand riding the air waves. Friends.

  8. Loved this post...Life, and the great plan of wonderful that our dearest Heavenly Father gave us such a chance to grow and progress. Sounds to me like you have done just fine. I am so happy to know you! :D

  9. I did forget to mention one thing.....I am not dying, not retiring....just letting the last child changes...but happily, right?

  10. If your TANK is filled with FAITH and PRAYERS, you can go a long ways!
    Keep on the journey, Good Neighbor Donna!

  11. Such a beautiful post ~ sharing from your heart. You are a very talented writer! You are indeed starting a new phase of your life and I can't wait to see what is new. God always leads us in the direction He would have us go...we just need to be quiet and listen. At least, that is what I need to do! :-) Thanks so much for sharing!

    P.S. I so appreciate your stopping by!

  12. You've guided them through their life just for this moment. You can sit back now and watch what you instilled in them multiply.

    Take a couple years off and get ready for the grandbabies.

  13. I loved your posting. I didn't for a moment think it was anything other than the baby leaving the nest. I did that five years ago and felt very much like you. The happy news is the nest doesn't remain just gets rearranged. And they come sets, lol!


  14. Thank heavens you explained. I thought you were sailing away on an iceburg (suicide.) Gave me moments of pause. I really bad at changes in life generally. When my only child went to college I was a mess. I don't think I've recovered yet. I'm glad you're handling this so well.

  15. Great post! And with a great attitude like that, I'm sure the next phase of your life will be just as full of blessings and growth as the last one was.

  16. Thank you Donna for your Blog. You are so inspiring to me and have blessed my life. An Empty Nest isn't too bad, because it doesn't remain emply too long. Keep on your path, and enjoy the journey. Much Love, Jan

  17. You will always be someone I look up to and admire so much. I hope to be just half of what you are some day! Thanks for all you do.

  18. I cried all the way through this. ALL THE WAY. How lucky we are to have you in our lives, Donna.

  19. It's hard when we come to that fork in the road. I always over analyze, get overly sentimental and just in general drive everyone nuts for awhile. I used to go in the kid's empty rooms and sniff their left behind clothes for heaven's sake! It's HARD to see them go. It makes you question everything you've done for your life's work - was I good enough? Wise enough? Loving enough? But they come back in a different form - with partners and little ones, and it's wonderful all over again but in a slightly different way. I have a feeling you'll get through it in your own sparkling style. You and that cute man you live with will figure out this in between time.

  20. That was gorgeous. Gave me chicken skin. Oh ye wise one. You are one of those people I really want to meet one day. I just lub ya! I really did need it too because just last night I was laying in bed angry (again) at my 15 year old and thinking "Why, oh, why do give up everything for these darn kids again?" Such a thankless job!

    And yet it's not.

    Gooooood luck with this next stage. I'm rooting for you.

  21. Once upon a time there was a mom and she lived forever after as a mom. Every big change your kids go through they take you right along with them. With each new step they make you step out of their everyday lives just a little bit ( that is if you want them to be independent one day!). When they learned to walk, when they learned to ride their bike, when they learned to drive, when they started elementary, middle and high school. It's just a another little step back it gives you a better view of the beautiful independent person they are becoming. Enjoy the view, enjoy yourself! Denise ;)

  22. Oh I remember going through this about 6 years ago. It nearly ripped my heart out but I was determined to keep my focus on the next phase...or otherwise I would have drowned in my own emotions. Now I understand what Marjorie Hinckley meant when she said she wishes she could stay in her 50s forever. I'm finding it to be a very sweet time of life.

  23. Oh my gosh. This blog really hit home for me. I have felt very nostalgic over the past year or so, as my kids have become adults, I have gone back to school, and then work. etc, etc, etc. These times of change are so invigorating, even though we have feelings of past life. I am inspired to write today now. Thanks so much!