The Issue: Time for Renewal
Spring. Just the word conjures thoughts of renewal and rebirth—and happiness itself—reaching back to our childhoods. Jerry Lifsey taps into that primal need for renewal with a push toward joy through (believe it or not) stamp collecting. His book Happiness Surrounds You: The Stamp Booklet Guide to Happiness, reviewed in this issue, brings images of everything happy: beaches, art, automobiles, flowers, music, sports, weddings, and even food and wine. New contributor and children’s book author Marianna Fiani uses a story about a cat, a bird, and a mouse to remind parents whose kids are away at school that they’ll soon be back for the summer. Spring also brings thoughts of baseball, and in some countries, cricket. New contributor George Kell shares his adventures one sunny day pursuing a new hat, modeled after the cricket variety, deep in an Indian marketplace.

In the spring come primary elections, and, with them, some empty nesters' involvement in politics. The season also brings Mother’s Day, in all its various forms of celebration. New contributor Jill Sherer Murray puts a twist on an old tale with “Step-Nesting.” In this issue we interview Joy Williamson—nurse, adventurer, and mother/grandmother extraordinaire. In spring, we may reinvent ourselves, “keeping it fresh.” We take stock, and perhaps write our memoir, with help from Jerry Waxler. Or, we finally get that routine cancer screening (and perhaps a new lease on life) that our doctor has been suggesting. New contributor Aaron Becker talks us into it. In any event, we’re ready for something different—in the weather and our lives. It's spring, the very best time for rebirth, renewal, and happiness.

The Publication
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My Spring
I kicked off spring living in the moment: traveling to Pittsburgh to cheer on Gary’s robotics team (the Mount St. Joseph Academy Firebirds). It was a first for me, attending an “on the road” regional and observing in leisurely fashion Gary’s mentoring of the high-school-age girls, working on and driving their robot.

Two weeks later, I was traveling again, this time in the air, to California to visit my older daughter, Amie, and her husband, Todd (and their two kitties). What a lovely, busy visit we had! I joined Amie and Todd in a wine-food pairing-tasting at Sunstone, my favorite winery, in Santa Ynez. We attended Amie’s Society of Women Engineers chapter’s five-year banquet and listened, rapt, as Flora Belle Reece, a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, recounted her training and flying during World War II, 70 years earlier, as if it had just happened. She is an inspiration to female pilots and engineers everywhere. The next day, Amie and I shopped in Valencia and lunched at the Salt Creek Grille, enjoying more respite and bonding. Three thousand miles is no small distance to live away from your child, so I really try to “soak it up” when I get the chance. A quiet Sunday working in their desert yard, then sipping cool margaritas and eating popcorn on the sun-filled patio in the afternoon—just a lovely time, what can I say?

Spring continued to unfold like a new blossom. There were more FIRST robotics competitions for Gary (the Philadelphia regional, then nationals, in Atlanta), and as for me, I just went about my business, enjoying the warming weather. While Gary was away in Atlanta, I spent my time alone well: lunches or dinners with friends, serious work on the magazine, exploring new areas of interest. Shorts and tank tops make an early appearance. With Gary home again, we switched (not very smoothly) from robotics to sailing. Must get the sailboat fixed up, out of the yard, up to the lake, and into the water! Our first venture was a race in winds of 25 mph, with gusts to 40. What an abrupt and not-for-the-fainthearted transition into the spring sailing season.

We redid our flowerbeds with perennials. Our younger daughter, Sarah, graced us with her presence on Easter and Mother’s Day weekends, the latter holiday crowned with our traditional mother-daughter musical reunion, singing at the noon Mass at our church (a pure joy for me). Right now, we’re waiting out some cooler weather, knowing the summer sun is right around the corner. In the meanwhile, some thoughts about spring from someone more articulate:

Open up your eyes and see the brand new day
Clear blue sky and brightly shining sun
Open up your ears and hear the breezes say
Everything that’s cold and gray is gone

Open up your hands and feel the rain come on down
Taste the wind and smell the flowers sweet perfume
Open up your mind and let the light shine in
The earth has been reborn and life goes on

Do you care what’s happening around you?
Do your senses know the changes when they come?
Can you see yourself reflected in the seasons?
Can you understand the need to carry on?

Riding on the tapestry of all there is to see
So many ways and oh so many things.
Rejoicing in the differences
There’s no one just like me
Yet as different as we are, we’re still the same.

And, oh, I love the life within me
I feel a part of everything I see
And, oh, I love the life around me
A part of everything is here in me
A part of everything is here in me
A part of everything is here in me.
(J. Denver, “Season Suite: Spring,” Rocky Mountain High)

As always, because of our dedicated contributors, we have a wonderful issue. For more about Empty Nest magazine, visit About Us. Enjoy the issue!

Robin C. Bonner
Editor, Empty Nest

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