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Building My Empty Nest Support Team

By Karen Austin

  At the start of the summer, I knew that all of my children would launch eight days apart. True, I only have two children, but when they both leave home just days apart, that made for a busy summer. What I didn’t realize was that the emotional side of their launch would pack a …

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We Are Never, Ever, Ever Gonna Get a Pet (er)

By Emily Milner

I find myself drawn to pictures of puppies lately. My friends get puppies and post pictures of them on social media. I show the pictures to my husband and tell him that we also need a dog, something small and furry and cute. I do this mostly to tease him, because he is firmly in camp We Are Not Getting a Dog, What Are You, Crazy? Which is where I have been most of my life, until the last few months where it seems like everyone and their dog happens to be getting a dog.

I did not grow up with dogs,* and I have never had a pet I took personal responsibility for except an ill-fated goldfish. One time I took an online survey called “which pet would be best for your family?” It was a pretty thorough survey, not like a Buzzfeed “which dog breed are you,” but really in depth. The answer to the survey as noted by some experts vets serving Seattle, WA was “Please do not get a pet.” In other words, you are only just barely taking care of yourselves, and for the love of PETA, don’t bring another living thing into your messy lives. People  can have a peek here for the best pet services.

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Long-Distance Parenting

By Karen Austin

Parenting long distance involves significant challenges.  My first child to leave home is serving as a full-time missionary in the Nevada Reno Mission. I’m particularly attuned to his absence, given that he’s just coming into his second Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home.  And he’s serving in a very small town in the most cold, …

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Choosy Moms Choose Their Pews

By Karen Austin

Even though I attend sacrament meeting with great regularity, I don’t have a specific pew that fellow ward members acknowledge as “mine.” Well, I might claim a pew for two or three years, but I have lived in 9 states and probably 30 plus wards, so it’s fiction to think that ward members will bypass …

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Fly, Little Bird, Fly!

By Kathryn Paul

my_baby_birds1Last summer I  discovered a  young  bird hopping and hobbling around our patio.  He had fallen out of the nest and didn’t yet have the flying skills to find his way home.    He frantically tried to fly, but his body weight seemed too heavy for his wing span.   He discovered the aspen trees near by, and I watched the mother bird arrive to cheer him on as he tried to hop higher and higher in the branches.   Several times he lost his balance and tumbled to the ground,  but he would awkwardly pick himself up and try again.    The mother bird patiently chirped her approval of his efforts.
 
     The frustration of the baby bird reminded me of my oldest son  who had dropped out of the mission nest due to a debilitating knee injury when he still had nine months left to serve.   Six weeks later he was feeling discouraged by his lack of progress and by the inability of doctors to magically heal all of our wounds.    He had  no desire to be nestled safely in the family nest,  rather he yearned  to be  soaring with the rest of the missionary eagles.  
 
       My son felt like the awkward baby bird who wasn’t making much progress getting back to the nest.   Lacking the patience of the mother bird, I felt  frustrated by my inability to make everything better.  When my children were little I could just apply a band-aid and a hug.    As my children grew taller, their problems seemed to grow larger.     Now  I wanted to be more like the mother bird, blessed with innate cheerleading skills,  to strengthen my son’s faith      I told my son about the little bird and our battle cry for the rest of the week was, “Fly,  Little Bird, Fly!”
 

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A Different Kind of Nest

By Cindy Clark

OH, I CAN HARDLY SAY IT. I can hardly type it. I can hardly think it. Well, all right, here goes—empty nest. Now, that’s taken care of. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, the EN Syndrome that many women face and fear is actually a misnomer. It should be renamed …

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