I gave the assignment this week:
"Look back over 2015 and write about one of the most memorable things that changed you, and write about the transformation."
You can find Bill writing about his photo taking here, and Christy about living back in her hometown here.
One of the more memorable things that has happened in my life this year is this fall when all three of my daughters were no longer living in our home.
Oldest daughter Molly relocated to Coeur d'Alene after getting a job at Post Falls Middle School, and will be returning to college in January to complete her Bachelor's degree at Lewis Clark State College.
Middle daughter Zoe is completing her senior year at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.
Youngest daughter Cosette moved into her first apartment, and is in her second year of college at the University of Idaho in Moscow.
I am not going to lie to you. I really enjoy having the house a little quieter, and our schedule a little calmer. I like that Paul and I spend more time together relaxing at home.
What I don't like are the long absences of being apart from our daughters, or having us all together at once.
Zoe finished up her junior year spring, and went directly to her summer job in Oregon.
We didn't see her from her spring break to August. That was way too long.
Because of our schedules over the summer, all five of us were never able to be together as a family.
So we went from Easter to Thanksgiving until all five of us were together again. That was hard.
It has made me realize how much I need to cherish the time we do have together. Especially at this time in our lives, when all of the girls are still unmarried, no children, and it can be just the five of us.
Because of this long lapse in the five of us being apart from one another, I thought would be a nice idea to take two days over Christmas break when all the girls were home and have a "Family Retreat".
Before Thanksgiving, I asked the girls if they would set aside December 28 and 29 for family time. When I made this request, I didn't know what we were going to do, but I did know it would be spending time together.
We had a bit of a "Staycation Family Retreat". We stayed at our house, and had an agenda of things we wanted to do over the two days.
We began the time sharing prayer requests and Paul prayed for us all.
Throughout the two days, we watched Episodes I - VI of the Star Wars movies, since we had just gone as a family to see Episode VII.
We played games. We found out the girls did not enjoy Trivial Pursuit 80's Edition. They said they might like it if there were questions of things that happened after they were born.
But playing "Scribblish" was a highlight!!
We share meals and had discussions. Some of these topics included:
"What can we do to encourage you when you are going through a bad time?"
"Is your outlook for the world hopeful or fearful, and why?"
"Share a topic you would like the family to discuss."
"Share about your relationship with God and Jesus, and what that means to your life right now."
What a precious gift those two days were with my family. Becoming an Empty Nester is a good thing, but having everyone home together to share memories is a real blessing.