My Emptying Nest – Embracing and Coping with Transition

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My Emptying Nest – Embracing and Coping with Transition

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It is that time of year again for parents – back to school time!  I have been busy getting my youngest daughter ready for her transition into high school and preparing to move my oldest daughter into her first apartment for her junior year in college!! What in the world –  it was just yesterday that I was a ball of tears sending my girls to school for their first day of kindergarten!

 

Lots of major transitions going on my way and during this time of year. We all face different transitions during our lives both minor and major.  I have learned to take transitions that are happening in my life more seriously.  When my freshmen daughter hopped out of the car two years ago and we pulled away from her dorm as a party of 3 and started our drive home I felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces.  I felt waves of grief and sadness her freshman year that were often paralyzing and startling.  I felt crazy for feeling this way and alone at times.  Life was moving forward but I was stuck in how things used to be when we were one big happy family under one roof.

 

I knew it would be hard but nothing prepared me for this new level of parenting and releasing my daughter into the world.  I tried to carry on as if things were okay.  That’s what society tells us to do just keep it moving – this is a part of life, be happy! I was happy and proud but struggling at the same time.  You raise a child for 18+ years in your home caring for them, protecting them and then in the blink of an eye they have left your nest and you have a brand new normal. Your duties as a mom/parent are different.  The things that you worry about and how you support them when they are away are different and MUCH harder.  Your heart breaks to uncover a new level of loving, supporting and surrendering as a parent and individual.  The breaking pieces turn you inward and help lead you back to rediscovering and redefining who you are not just as a mom – but the process still sucks.

 

Through my experiences and healing I realize that embracing and carefully processing the changes that are taking place in our lives is very important to our wellbeing.  Taking time for self-care, healing and getting the support through family, friends or resources is vital.  A big shout out to my hubby who helped me cope during this transition and my many sleepless nights full of worry and anxiety.  Whew – no wonder God gave us partners!

 

As women especially, we power through things and have no time to slow down to pause and properly cope with challenges and milestones that we face.  We look up one day and realize that we thought we were handling things just fine when we really are not.  That happened to me about six months after we pulled away from that curb.  I looked up and realized I was not okay, needed help and that I had experienced a major change in my life that could not be ignored. I needed to feel and deal with the separation anxiety and depression that I was experiencing.

 

I want to use my experiences to help others.  We have support and gatherings when we enter motherhood but nothing in place when we experience this new milestone in the motherhood journey. I am ready to change this starting in my community.  I am planning some gatherings and a weekend retreat in October for moms going through transitions of a partial or full empty nest.  I want to provide a safe space to gather, celebrate, explore and be nurtured.

 

I have gone through it and still pick up the breaking pieces of my heart every fall.  We will start packing up my daughter this week for a third time and I already know that I will be a basket case, lol!  I look forward to sharing my wisdom, experiences, support, resources and love to moms and women as they go through these beautiful and life changing rites of passage.

 

Please email me at empowerherinc@yahoo.com or leave a comment to be added to my mailing list to get more details about upcoming events and resources.  I’m excited to use my experiences to help others!

 

Cheers to a new school year and the many transitions that we all experience on our journey.

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By Kara Norman- Empower Her, Inc.

Kara Norman Atlanta Based Women Empowerment Thought Leader and bi-weekly blog contributor.

Kara Norman has been working with Women and Girls for a number of years. Her nonprofit organization Empower Her Inc , have led to many opportunities in the space of making social changes as it deals with women and their many roles in society. You can learn more about Kara Norman and Empower Her Inc. at http://www.empowerherinc.com/

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Foodie Tuesday with Smarty Marty- Tuna Croissant Sandwich

Smarty Foodie this week is keeping it easy with a quick meal idea for you. Grab you a can a Tuna we are going to assist with this delicious delight!

Tuna Croissant Sandwich

First Things First gather up the necessary ingredients.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 oz.) can tuna
  • ½ medium red onion
  • 4 pieces scallions
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2½ tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 pieces Croissant
  • 4 pieces lettuce38085951_2421948767816058_5463589062147309568_o38292818_2421948641149404_2284184099025321984_o
  • Directions

    1. Open the tuna and drain water or oil.
    2. Chop the onion, celery, and scallions.
    3. Arrange the tuna in a mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, chopped onion, celery, and scallions.
    4. Add Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Mix well
    5. Slice the Croissant in half and then lay a piece of lettuce flat on one slice of the bread. Scoop some tuna salad over the lettuce. Top with the other bread slice.
    6. Serve and Enjoy!

    38183377_2421948617816073_4978003770513293312_o38072485_2421948591149409_8955805572997840896_oFood Styled and Prepared By Smarty Marty

    Recipe By -www.speedyrecipe.com

    Atlanta Based Photography Elisha Akram (Kustom Kreation Photography) weekly food/recipe contributor Smarty Marty(My Older Sister) combines her love for cooking, photography and plating meals each and every Tuesday for this Segment entitled Foodie Tuesday. Join us each week for a variety of dishes prepared by Smarty Marty

Find Your Voice – You are Your Best Advocate!

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Find Your Voice – You are Your Best Advocate!

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I have struggled with confidence for many years.  It’s weird because as young girl I was so creative and free spirited. You would often find me creating something, putting together plays, projects and dance routines for my family.  My cousins would say I was rather bossy and always making them participate in my adventures!  My voice was LOUD – then middle school and my teens hit and somehow my voice and confidence was gone.   I quietly entered womanhood and motherhood and my voice got even more quieter when it came to myself. Now when it comes to my daughters, hubby family, friends and causes that I am passionate about I am the loudest one in the room.   However, when it came to me it is a totally different story.

Self-advocacy is learning to speak up on your own behalf.   You are the only one that knows how you feel and what you need so you are the best person to speak up…duh! That sounds wonderful on paper and to most people but what happens when it is lost or disappears because you learned somewhere on your journey that your voice, opinions and needs did not matter? I think often as mothers and women this gets lost when we are caring for others so much.   We often feel that people are mind readers and know what we need.  Perfect example when I had my meltdown at work a month ago (check out my previous blog post to read more about my eye-opening experience) and my manager asked how I got to that point.  We assume that people know what we need but in truth it is up to us to say something and to keep saying it if necessary.

I recently had to speak up in a situation at work that was not working well for me. Most of the time I am a “go with the flow” and “take a lot of crap and strap on a smile” type of gal but lately this has not been working!  I am finding myself in more and more situations where just pushing through and not speaking up is just not happening.  So, I spoke up and addressed the issues I was having and that things were not working well for me.  I was shocked that I remained calm, was direct and firm. My managers honestly did not know what was going on and were disappointed that I did not speak up earlier before it got bad. They are working on solutions to readjust things to make it better not only for myself but also for my team.

I am learning that life can be so much easier if we speak up – duh so simple, right? I am on a new path of self-love and discovery that is changing how I feel about my needs daily.  We can often get lost in the shuffle.  We look up one day and realize that life is going great for everyone else but ourselves!  I found these terrific tips to help anyone that might be struggling with this topic to help guide you through the process of self-advocacy. These steps may take time so be patient with yourself along the way!

5 steps to self-advocacy:

1.     Take responsibility and believe in yourself. You have the right to speak up for yourself and only you know what is best for you, therefore it is your responsibility to create change in your life.

2.     Be organized. Know your rights, know what you want to speak-up about and gather any information that is required to do so.

3.     Develop a plan. Plan how you are going to speak-up, then practice to yourself, a family member or a close friend.

4.     Take action. Speak-up for yourself, using open communication while remaining respectful to others.

5.     Seek support if needed. It is important to ask for help when you feel you need it.

 

Feel free to leave a comment on other tips that you use to be your best self-advocate!  We can all use them. Cheers to finding your voice, using it in EVERY area of your life and pushing back!

By Kara Norman- Empower Her, Inc.

Kara Norman Atlanta Based Women Empowerment Thought Leader and bi-weekly blog contributor.

Kara Norman has been working with Women and Girls for a number of years. Her nonprofit organization Empower Her Inc , have led to many opportunities in the space of making social changes as it deals with women and their many roles in society. You can learn more about Kara Norman and Empower Her Inc. at http://www.empowerherinc.com/

“Halfway There!”

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Whew -can you believe it is July?? The halfway point of the year! It caught me by surprise – especially when I realized that my youngest daughter will be starting high school in less than three weeks..eeeckkkk! Talk about time flying she was just a toddler yesterday!  I wanted to take this week’s blog post to remind everyone that it is the perfect time for a halftime break.  I invite you to take a moment to step back, evaluate your year so far and take action to get back on track if needed. Or if you are like me and have a lot going on, step off that ‘track’ and rip a few things off your plate before we get into the busy season of the fall!

 

Since time is flying so quickly I wanted to suggest a few quick tips to be more mindful and to be fully in the moment.

 

Don’t Wish It was Friday on Monday

 

It is so easy to wake up on Monday morning wondering where the weekend went and then start longing for it to be Friday.  I am so guilty of this and just decided that instead of waiting for Friday I am going to enjoy the 24 hours that I am blessed with every day.  Why should we suffer through and spend our days longing for the weekend when we have this moment to be happy and thrive?

Take a 5 minute “Do Nothing Break” Everyday

 

Sit in silence, become aware of your thoughts and focus on your breathing for just 5 minutes a day. It sounds so simple but our mind is constantly going a million miles a minute.  It helps to just take a moment to sit in silence to take in the sounds and energy that is flowing in the moment.  Take several if needed – I know I do!

 

Schedule Breaks and Leave Room

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If your schedule is like mine – jam packed with back to back meetings, appointments, etc. it is important to plan breaks in between your laundry list of to do items.   If you have a meeting or appointment scheduled leave a thirty minute or hour break in between to regroup. When you get home from work take a moment to relax and write down three things you are grateful that happened that day.  I am notorious for hitting the door when I get home and going 90 miles an hour into mommy mode after a long day at work.  We just need to take several chills pills (need to bring that phrase back) on a daily basis!

 

Make Undivided Attention a Daily Practice

 

We have become multi-tasking monsters doing a million things at once. Especially with cell phones it is so easy to handle multiple tasks and conversations at a time.  If you are having a conversation with someone focus on the conversation, being fully present and not distracted.  When you are taking care of a task be in that moment and focus on what you are doing.  In Georgia they implemented a hands-free law while driving as of July 1st.  You cannot hold your phone to talk or text while driving or you will be ticketed. It is crazy how much restraint I had to have on the first few days to not grab my phone and scroll while at a red light.  Now I just focus on the music in the car or just my surroundings more.  It is hard to believe that idle time has become something that we try to avoid.

 

 

Overall take a long deep breath in and savor EVERY wonderful and crazy aspect of your life daily. It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and now it’s July.  Now more than ever we need to be more mindful and enjoy our lives as it is a gift! I heard something the other day that said that God is not in the past or the future only in the present moment. I’m learning to spend more time there for sure – it is the best place to be!

 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – Deepak Chopra and Oprah have a wonderful FREE 21-day mediation starting on July 23rd. It is a great way to develop a meditation and mindfulness practice. They will be exploring the energy of attraction and manifesting your best life. These are so good and only come around a few times a year! Sign up soon by visiting: https://chopra.com/.

Be sure to leave a comment letting us know your favorite ways to chill and slow things down!

 

Cheers to the halfway point of 2018 and making EVERY moment count!

By Kara Norman- Empower Her, Inc.

Kara Norman Atlanta Based Women Empowerment Thought Leader and bi-weekly blog contributor.

Kara Norman has been working with Women and Girls for a number of years. Her nonprofit organization Empower Her Inc , have led to many opportunities in the space of making social changes as it deals with women and their many roles in society. You can learn more about Kara Norman and Empower Her Inc. at http://www.empowerherinc.com/

Foodie Tuesday with Smarty Marty – Mandarin Orange Chicken

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This week’s Foodie Tuesday Delight from Smarty Marty is a Mandarin Orange Chicken

a different twist on your chicken breast. Let’s get started. 1st things first lets gather up the necessary ingredients.

What you need is the following: 
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch22218332_1957460367598236_4980106681036265822_oDirections: 

Ingredients
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.
While chicken cooks, drain oranges in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Add oranges, 2 tablespoons liquid, onions, jalapeño, and garlic to pan. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes. Combine broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

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Food Styled and Prepared By Smarty Marty

Recipe By – Allrecipes.com

Atlanta Based Photography Elisha Akram (Kustom Kreation Photography) weekly food/recipe contributor Smarty Marty(My Older Sister) combines her love for cooking, photography and plating meals each and every Tuesday for this Segment entitled Foodie Tuesday. Join us each week for a variety of dishes prepared by Smarty Marty