empty nesters

13912610_1763473947256422_3195765707990779356_n[1]12669708_1069807123084063_9080868313336931548_n[1]These days, most people find themselves leading busy lives, but I doubt if many have had the kind of year, or actually year and a half that my nephew Dave Balcerzak, and my niece Chantel…his wife have had. Dave and Chantel are empty nesters now, because all their kids have moved out, but to make matters worse…they are between nests!! That’s not a bad thing, because they are in the process of buying a house. The bad part is packing, patching walls from nail holes, and cleaning their current place so they are ready to move into the new place in early September. Nevertheless, they are so very excited about buying this house. It is a dream come true for them, so all their hard work now will eventually be totally worth it. Dave is practically like a kid in a candy store. He keeps calling Chantel on the phone, just to tell her…”I bought you a house!!” That is pretty typical of Dave anyway, because Chantel is his princess, and he loves showing her just how much he loves her.

As if moving wasn’t enough to keep these two busy, they will have three weddings that hey have planned, paid for, and helped with in 16 months. The final one takes place in October, and then they will have one daughter left to eventually plan a wedding for. Their little family is growing by leaps and bounds, and they couldn’t be happier. They are grandparents for the first time now. Alice, who shares Dave’s birthday, thinks he hung the moon, and now her little sister, Izabella has him wrapped around her baby finger too. Dave is reveling in the pleasure of being grandpa, and the girls are very blessed too. And the fact that they are girls…well, that pretty much sunk Dave’s resistance ship right away. He would love them if they were boys too, but he is a sucker for those little girls. Sorry Dave…but it’s the truth.

Yes, it’s been a busy year for Dave and Chantel, and life just gets better and better every day, and add to that, 10649458_10153167063682237_5884941205658342552_n[1]1800330_1378895432380944_1295469140_n[2]any work they decide to do to the new house, and you have a recipe for a busy year to come. Let’s face facts here too…you always change something. Nevertheless, that work becomes very rewarding when it’s on your own house. I know that they are going to have a great time building a new life in their new home, with lots of precious moments there with the kids and grandkids. The possibilities are endless. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Lacey Stevens Lacey's dressing roomSometimes, just when you think you know someone, some little thing changes in their life, and suddenly you find out things about them that you had no idea about. Such was the case with my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey is not the kind of person to brag about her talents, and in my defense, maybe that is why I never knew.

Recently, Lacey decided to move out of her parents’ house, and into a little house of her own. Lacey is a cosmetologist by trade, and she had been saving her money for furniture, rent, and the other things she would need to live on her own. While her parents are really proud of how responsible she has been in planning her move, they do, nevertheless, miss her at home. She has been so busy that they have hardly seen her, and that can be hard for first time empty nesters.

It’s not, however, Lacey’s responsible ways that took me by surprise. As I was planning my story, I thought I might show some pictures if Lacey’s new place. I asked her for pictures to showcase her place in my story, and Lacey's painting 2Lacey's living room that’s when it happened. It was a simple enough thing on Lacey’s part. She just sent the pictures to me and told me that her favorite room is her dressing room…which I can fully understand, by the way. What girl wouldn’t love it?

The pictures were great, but one thing caught my eye. It was the stunning four painting display on one wall, of a tree against a red, sunset like background. When I told her that it was beautiful, she said a simple, “Thanks, I painted those in high school.” Well, I about fell over. They are, as I said, stunning. Lacey is just so talented. Lacey’s sister, Michelle is going to art school, and I think Lacey should have gone too. I told Lacey that she needs to start selling her work. I think she would be quite successful at it. She is such a natural artist.

I think everyone has a natural talent for something. Lacey, like her mom, my sister, Alena Stevens is a very good cosmetologist, but like her sister, Michelle, she also inherited a natural talent for art. My mom, Collene Spencer is a pretty good artist too, and these girls must have inherited their talent from her or from someone Lacey's painting 3Lacey's painting 1on the Stevens side, but I can tell you that they did not get it from me, because I find stick figures to be a real challenge. Wherever her talent came from, Lacey is an artist in her own right. She just doesn’t pat herself on the back, but I think maybe she should. Of course, she won’t do it, because that’s just not Lacey’s way. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Lacey, your new place is absolutely beautiful. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Bob and I moved from Mills, to Homa Hills in the late 70’s, and then east, to the other side of town, past Evansville to a place in the country in 1980, and lived there until January, 1995. The area we lived in saw lots of antelope, which for those of you who aren’t familiar, are nowhere nearly as beautiful as deer, and are quite stupid, but that’s just my opinion. Deer, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as skittish as antelope, and we wanted to have deer hanging around our place, but it just never happened. I was always sorry, because I thought living in the country just came with deer.

In January of 1995, we sold our place in the country and moved to town. I knew that many things would change in our lives. Our girls were grown, our oldest daughter married, and our youngest daughter planning her wedding. Soon grandchildren would follow our initiation into the empty nester’s world. Our lives had taken a big turn, and nothing was going to be the same again.

We moved into our new home in January, so at first we didn’t see anything that would surprise us. Then spring and summer came, and we got a big surprise. Suddenly, the deer began to show up. It was always a surprise visit. There was no way to expect it. Some mornings we would wake up to up to 6 deer in the back yard. Sometimes, we would come home and as we left our detached garage to go into the house, we would step into our yard to find a deer or two standing across the yard from us.

They are never afraid. They are often curious about us. They let us move around our yard, as long as we don’t get too awfully close, but that is much closer than you might think. The deer are such a blessing. They wander in and out of our lives and our days, always bringing a feeling of beauty and awe along with them. They are graceful and quiet, and they make you want to hold your breath so that maybe, just maybe the moment might not pass so quickly and the deer in my back yard might stay just a few minutes longer.

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