Greater Inspiration ~ An Interview with David Hunt

While writing about “I’ll Fly Away’s” role in GreaterthemovieI wondered if I might also be able to interview David Hunt, its Director and Co-Writer. Since we are both homeschooling families, we had something in common, and that gave me the courage to contact him. Even though Mr. Hunt had a hectic schedule, he made some time for me to interview him by phone. I truly appreciate the opportunity to write about him.

David Hunt on the set of Greater
David Hunt on the set of Greater

I started by asking David how he came to be involved with Greater. He recounted how Brian Reindl, the Producer, had approached the Burlsworth family eleven years ago about writing Brandon’s story, and with their permission he wrote the first script. In the beginning he looked towards Hollywood for financing and screenwriting, but they wanted to strip Brandon’s faith from the story. Deciding that it would be better if he financed it hisself, he began to hunt for someone who could help him tackle this giant story. David Hunt had made a low-budget movie that was shown in some film festivals. Mr. Reindl happened to see it, and contacted him to talk about working on Greater.

David grew up in Northwest Arkansas and had some first-hand experiences with Brandon Burlsworth. As a youth, David’s All-Star Baseball team played against Brandon’s, and his last high school football game was against Brandon’s Harrison team. They attended the University of Arkansas at the same time and had friends in common. He remembered the excitement of the 1998 season, and the shock that radiated through the region as news spread of Brandon’s tragic death. Those first-hand memories gave David a unique advantage as a writer in retelling Brandon’s story. Brian Reindl took David Hunt on as co-writer about 4 1/2 years ago, and together they rewrote the script.

According to David, Brian was warned that actors wouldn’t want to be involved with the movie because the project didn’t have a major producer or director. In spite of that, Brian defended his selection of David. “We proved them wrong,” David said. “The actors responded to the story.”

Casting
Greater - Neal McDonough as Marty
Neal McDonough as Marty Burlsworth

David had a certain type of actor in mind for the role of Marty. He remembered that Neal McDonough had famously lost a television role because, in honoring his marriage, he refused to do an intimate scene with an actress. David wrote a personal letter to Neal, enclosing the script. While stuck in a traffic jam,  Neal’s wife began reading the script to him and he became emotional. Neal responded to David’s personal contact and committed to Greater. Later he told David that he knew whoever wrote that script had to know what they were doing.

Leslie Easterbrook as Barbara Burlsworth in Greater
Leslie Easterbrook as Barbara Burlsworth

In speaking of Leslie Easterbrook, who plays the role of Barbara Burlsworth, David had worked with her back in 2004. He remembered her and contacted her directly as well. She loved the script and was instantly on board. David said he knew the role would bring out something he had seen in her. Although she didn’t have children of her own, she was maternal, and the role offered her a chance to play a supportive mother which was something she had not done recently.

Cameos

There were a few surprise cameos in the movie. Houston Nutt appears early, unassumingly, as the custodian.

Frank Broyles recreates the announcement of hiring Houston Nutt as Head Coach.

Quinton Aaron, who played the lead in The Blind Side, appears briefly in the role of Coach Aaron.

The real Marty Burlsworth appears as a photographer and advises the character Marty to put his lens on.

Divine Inspiration

I asked David if he felt inspired, or led by God, to make Greater. He decisively responded, “Yes.” He went on to explain that in the year prior to being contacted by Brian Reindl that he had undergone a process of studying philosophical issues of Christianity – the biggest of those was of evil and suffering. He felt like he had been divinely prepared for the core of Brandon’s story: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

David also said that the budget for Greater was about 1/5 of competing movies, very small for telling this story. There were many times that he felt like they were “bailed out from above.”

In talking about the casting, I wondered if God’s hand might have also been in that. Some scripts were sent out but never responded to. Later, when Neal McDonough came aboard, he told David that he thought many of the actors might not have ever seen the scripts. It had been during “pilot season” and their agents didn’t pass them on to them. Could God have been closing doors and opening windows?

We’re Just Too Small

Throughout our conversation, David spoke of his theological beliefs, and often as he spoke I remembered a scene from the movie where one of the characters said the same thing. So, for example, as he spoke of one of the themes, “we’re too limited to see day-to-day, how can we see the eternal picture?” I saw Barbara saying those things to Marty.

That theme is carried out in the movie when, during a game, Brandon refers to the coach in the press box where he can see the whole field. And again in the graduation scene where Brandon is able to see his father in the back because he is looking down, but from his position, Marty can’t see him. There are other references as well, but we’ll leave some surprises for you to discover. Brandon believed that there was a game plan.

Hard Questions

I was eager to ask about “the farmer.” His craftsman explained that “he represents the inner dialogue of doubt that people have in hard times. The questions he raises are not easily dismissed, and they aren’t answered in the movie.” David warned that they were questions that Christians need to be able to answer before they are in a period of pain or trouble. He also disclosed that there were Christians who were uncomfortable with the farmer and advised them to cut him out.

I’ll Fly Away

Since I recently wrote about “I’ll Fly Away’s” role in Greater, I asked David if he could tell me about why it was chosen. He said that it was in Brian Reindl’s original script. Brian had heard it sung during the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Rally, and thought it was appropriate. David agreed, so when they rewrote the script they expanded it’s role. It occurs many times in the film, and toward the end there is a scene of Brandon driving home and listening to the radio. For this version they asked Bob Brumley to sing “I’ll Fly Away” while accompanying hisself on a guitar. They wanted the recording to sound old-style, like an AM radio.

When asked about working with Bob Brumley in recording “I’ll Fly Away,” David said, “He was great to work with –  down-to-earth and willing to do anything. We couldn’t ask for a better working experience.” Originally, Brandon sang along with the radio and that had already been filmed, so Bob was asked to play along with, and match, what was already on screen.

The scene of Brandon singing along ended up being cut. David explained the best he could that the cut just happened, because of what the film was. The decision was made to respect the story’s momentum, the way it came together.

Brandon Burlsworth Foundation

While researching for this post, I discovered that Brandon Burlsworth was born on September 20, 1976. He would have just turned forty years old. As a mother, my heart breaks for his family’s loss. Through the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation they are able to honor his memory by helping underprivileged kids through a variety of programs. “Do it the Burls Way,” was a saying coined by former Razorback coach, Houston Nutt, which meant to do it the right way, even when no one was looking. That saying became the foundation’s motto. For more information about the programs, scholarships, and awards offered, please visit the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation.

God-Incidence

I always enjoy seeing God at work, and I’m struck by two things. The first is the timing of this article – the day after, what would have been, Brandon’s 40th birthday. The second is that the Bikes, Blues & BBQ Motorcycle Rally is this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Coincidence? I tend to think God-incidence.

Take the First Step

In talking about being chosen to work on Greater, David referred to Brandon’s belief that if he took the first step that other things would happen. I was really impressed with that in Brandon’s story, how he persisted despite setback after setback. It sounds like David Hunt and Brian Reindl had to have a similar determination in producing their wonderful movie. I couldn’t help but think about myself, too. If I hadn’t taken the step of contacting Mr. Hunt, I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity. Greater was an inspiration to me, and I feel sure it will inspire you as well. If you haven’t already seen it, please do. What might it inspire you to do?

If you enjoyed this post, you can encourage me by clicking “Like” below, and if you think others would enjoy it, please help me out by sharing it. You can also subscribe to have future posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Oak Hill Homestead


Greater Inspiration ~ An Interview with David Hunt
Greater Inspiration ~ An Interview with David Hunt

“I’ll Fly Away” in Greater Role

My husband and I went to see the movie, Greater, not really knowing what to expect. Greater was co-written by a local homeschool father, David Hunt, so I wanted to support the movie because of the homeschool connection. My husband, a University of Arkansas alum, was interested in seeing it for the football story. It ended up being one of the best movies we’ve ever seen!

Surprise!

Greater is about Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on to the the University of Arkansas Razorback football team, and the effect his faith had on others. Early in the movie, when we first heard “I’ll Fly Away,” my husband and I looked excitedly at each other because we live in Powell, Missouri, the home of it’s writer, Albert E. Brumley. As the movie progressed, “I’ll Fly Away,” was woven through it in different forms, playing a prominent role. At the end of the movie I remained in my seat to watch the closing credits. I saw one giving credit for “I’ll Fly Away,” but then was surprised to see a second one, thanking Bob Brumley for singing.

What?!

Thinking back through the movie I wondered which voice had been Bob’s. As soon as I got home that evening, I wrote an email to the Brumley Music office, asking about it. Bob’s daughter, Elaine, was kind enough to respond, explaining that it was towards the end of the movie, when Brandon was driving home and listening to the radio. We went to see the movie a second time, and sure enough, there was Bob singing. How had I missed that before?! You can watch the clip here.

Since I recently wrote about Bob’s father, Albert, in “Memory Valley,” I knew that I wanted to write a follow-up about “I’ll Fly Away’s” role in Greater. I was so excited for Bob and his family, for his father’s song to be chosen for such a wonderful, inspiring movie! Bob was gracious to grant me another interview.

Bob Brumley of Brumley Music Company
Bob Brumley in his office at Brumley Music, Powell, Missouri
A New Experience

Bob said that even though he’s been in the music business his whole life, this was his first experience being in a movie and that it was exciting to see his name in the credits. I was surprised to learn that Bob made the actual recording in March of 2014, almost two-and-a-half years before the movie’s release. I wondered why he hadn’t mentioned it to me in our earlier interview, and that explained it. Of this experience, Bob said, “It was an honor for me to be able to do that. It was so well done, I was glad I was a part of it.”

Bob Brumley recording "I'll Fly Away" at Haxton Road Studios
Bob Brumley recording “I’ll Fly Away.” Photo courtesy of Brumley Music.
Bob Brumley recording "I'll Fly Away" for Greaterthemovie
Bob Brumley during recording session. Photo courtesy of Brumley Music.

The recording was made at Haxton Road Studios in nearby Bentonville, Arkansas, using a 1937 Gibson guitar. Owner, Neil Greenhaw, gave me permission to include this statement he made about the session:

“The experience with recording some of the music for the movie, Greater, was powerful. I remember standing there listening to what was going on in the room and helping produce some of the musical aspects and all of a sudden, the moment happened for me. I’m watching playback on the screen while recording a song with Bob Brumley playing a song on my 1937 Gibson acoustic guitar in the living room. This wasn’t just any song, but the most recorded gospel song in history, “I’ll Fly Away.” It dawned on me; this man’s father wrote this song and it changed the world. It changed music. It shaped culture. It was a very meaningful moment for me at the studio seeing this song performed by Bob. Thanks to the Brumley family for sharing that moment with us!”

Neil Greenhaw and Bob Brumley
Neil Greenhaw and Bob Brumley. Photo courtesy of Neil Greenhaw, Haxton Road Studios
1937 Gibson guitar
1937 Gibson guitar used in recording “I’ll Fly Away” for Greaterthemovie. Photo courtesy of Neil Greenhaw, Haxton Road Studios
Goldie’s Influence

Albert was first inspired to write “I’ll Fly Away” while working in the cotton fields of his boyhood home in Oklahoma. He often sang “A Prisoner’s Song,” and had the idea to adapt it as a gospel song. However, it wasn’t until after his marriage to Goldie Schell in 1931, that he submitted it for publishing as a result of her encouragement. “I’ll Fly Away” was published by Hartford Music Company in 1932. Considering it’s popularity, it was interesting to learn of Goldie’s influence. I asked Bob about that, and nodding, he elaborated, saying, “Dad had self-doubt and was discouraged about making a living with music.” With the resounding success of Albert Brumley’s songs, it’s amazing that at one time he lacked confidence.

Minor Notes

When “I’ll Fly Away” was used in the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” they wanted to add a verse that included shackles and chains. They were given permission to do so, and Greater also used that version.

Originally, Brandon was supposed to sing along with the radio when Bob sang, “I’ll Fly Away,” but that was changed.

“Victory in Jesus,” was also used in Greater. It was originally published by Hartford Music company, but is now owned by Brumley Music Company.

Keep it Simple

“I’ll Fly Away” has been recorded thousands of times and translated in different languages, including Spanish and Japanese. I wondered why it is so endearing. Bob said he thought it was because it was simple, but had a great message. “It’s a 3-chord song,” Bob explained, “using only G, C, and D chords. It’s easy to remember, easy to sing, and has a rousing message. Dad always said, ‘Keep it simple.'”

I found another viewpoint in this excerpt from the Neosho Daily News archives:

“In the years of the depression and the struggles of the country before World War II, the new fangled invention, radio, carried Brumley’s songs across the country. “Turn Your Radio On,” “I’ll Meet You In the Morning,” “Jesus, Hold My Hand” – these were the songs that America listened to, sang, and looked to for inspiration. Few song writers did more toward helping America retain her hope and heart than did Albert Brumley. There’s no wondering why his popularity has endured.”

Even though it doesn’t specifically list “I’ll Fly Away,” I suspect it also deserves some of the credit.

Impassioned Appeal

Brumley Music gets a lot of inquiries about licensing, so I asked Bob how he initially felt about “I’ll Fly Away” being used in Greater. Bob said that he was contacted by Producer and Co-Writer, Brian Reindl, and “there was just something about him…he believed in the movie so much.” When asked what he thought of the end result, Bob replied, “I thought that was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen! David Hunt did a great job as a director.”

I couldn’t help but ask how Bob thought his father would have felt. “I think he’d think it was great. He lived to see some success, but I wish he lived to see what happened with movies and television. I think he’d be well-pleased, that song being used a lot.”

In fine print inside The Best of Albert E. Brumley, it states, “He (Albert) has never had a publicity agent. Instead, he has preferred to let his songs speak for him, his religious beliefs and his whole philosophy of life in general.” While Albert’s music spoke for him, Brandon’s testimony was his character both on and off the field. Both men lived lives of faith that inspired those around them, and legacies that continue to do so.

The Best of Albert E. Brumley and other books are available from Brumley Music.

Thank you for letting me write about  you, Bob. It was an honor!

Bob Brumley and Michelle Curren
Bob Brumley with Michelle Curren

Psst! If you subscribe, then future blog posts will fly straight to your inbox! If you think others would enjoy this article, then you can help us both by sharing.

Related Reading

Albert Brumley’s Memory Valley

Greater Inspiration ~ An Interview with David Hunt

"I'll Fly Away" in Greater Role
“I’ll Fly Away” in Greater Role
Oak Hill Homestead


Solitude ~ A Simple Pleasure

We all need some solitude. Time to think our own thoughts and dream our own dreams. Sometimes it can be hard to get away, especially if you live in the city. I love being able to take a walk on our farm to enjoy nature and get some exercise. Our dogs usually keep me company and run here and there following scent trails or something they saw or heard. I can take a long walk on our country road and usually not see another person or car. That means I can sing out loud and look my absolute worst. LOL! Inspired by the natural beauty, I usually sing hymns and spend time in prayer. It’s a good time to think of loved ones who need lifting up, as well as unloading my own worries to the only One who can do anything about them.

A Fork In The Road
Solitude: A fork in the road - which way should I go?
Which way should I go?

Sometimes we have big decisions to ponder and pray about. Sometimes, there’s just literally a fork in the road. This is on our private driveway down to the farm. I love walking through this natural tunnel. There’s a small creek running along side it, and sometimes I can enjoy the sound of water trickling down it.

I never know what I’ll discover on my walks and every day is different. Sometimes there are wildflowers or berries. Sometimes mushrooms. There are always rocks and lots of tall trees.

Solitude ~ Rocky Bluffs
Rocky Bluff and Creek Bed

Have I told you that green is my favorite color? I love all of this greenery. I even love moss.

Solitude ~ Mike's Creek
Mike’s Creek

Since our house is on a hill it’s not beside the creek, but it’s a short walk down to it and a delightful destination. The water is crystal clear and always really chilly so it’s pretty exhilarating even just to stick my toes in. (You could stick your toes in some ice water to feel like you’re here with me.) It’s fun to look for arrowheads or interesting rocks. Occasionally, we’ll have an impromptu cook-out and build a small fire on the gravel and cook some hotdogs or bratwurst. I’m so happy to have access to all of this natural beauty.

Solitude ~ Dogs Enjoying the Creek
Libby and Daisy cooling off in the chilly water of Mike’s Creek

Now for the bad news. Are you ready? The walk back home is all uphill!

I hope you enjoyed our walk on the farm! Where do you like to go for a little solitude?

If you subscribe, future posts will be sent straight to your inbox! (And you won’t have to walk uphill to get them!)

Oak Hill Homestead
More Simple Pleasures

Open Windows
The Clothesline

Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea

Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea is a variety that I ordered through Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company to try this past Spring. I was really happy with its performance. I had some seeds left of another variety, Sugar Snap, from last year so I planted some of those, too, and was able to compare them. Both of these types have sweet, succulent pods that are delicious fresh or cooked. They make a great snack right in the garden!

Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea
Beautiful Blossoms!
Plump Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea Pods
Plump Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea Pods

Peas like cool weather, so they can be grown both Spring and Fall. This pea has beautiful blossoms, and as described it was very productive. When the heat of summer started to arrive, Magnolia Blossom produced about a week longer than the other variety. The pods were very crisp and sweet, too! It does have more tendrils than most, and the catalog description suggested using them in salads, but I didn’t remember to try that. I’m sure they’d be great, though.

Magnolia Blossom Pea Seed Packet
Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea Packet

I was so pleased with this pea, I’ve already started putting out more seed for Fall. If you’re looking for a sugar snap pea to add to your garden, consider giving Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea a try.

Click the icons below to visit homestead blog hops. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn new things.


image


Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas

My garden is part laboratory, meaning that I like to try new things, whether techniques or plants. One of my favorite seed companies is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. In the winter I love looking through their catalog while planning my Spring garden, reading the descriptions of plants from all over the world. I’m amazed by the boundless variety of plants from which they’ve collected seeds. Every year I pick some new things to try, but I’m actually trying to hone in on some favorites that I can plant and depend on every year. Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas are on that list.

Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas Seed Packet
Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

This post contains affiliate links for products that I use and recommend. Should you use one of my links to make a purchase then I earn a small commission that helps to support my blog, and I thank you.

Dirty Details

We live on the top of a rocky hill, so I garden in raised beds using the “Lasagna Gardening” method. Basically, it’s layering different types of mulches such as leaves, newspapers, compost, and kitchen scraps. I also garden organically, trying to learn and use natural methods to avoid chemical pesticides and fertilizers. I live in southwest Missouri, Zone 6B.

Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpea Bloom
Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpea Bloom
Pick Me! Pick Me!

I love this variety of cowpeas because when they ripen they turn a pretty purple, which makes it really easy to know when they’re ready to be picked. The hulls are edible, too. If you pick immature pods, you can break them into pieces, called “snaps,” and cook them with the cowpeas. One year I saved and dried the purple hulls and used them to make herbal teas just for fun. I can’t say I could really taste them since I combined them with other herbs, but they lent a pretty pink tint to my tea. It was just another experiment. I’ve had good luck with them for many years and haven’t had a problem with pests or diseases.

If you don’t already have a Baker Creek catalog, do yourself a flavor (haha) and request a catalog. You’ll be amazed, and your horticultural horizons broadened! Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas are a warm-weather crop, so plan ahead for next summer.

Shelled Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas
Shelled Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas
Preparing Purple Hull PINKEYE Peas

After you say that three times really fast, here’s my favorite way to cook them: I usually preserve my peas by packing them in quart-sized zip-locs, which weigh about 24 oz. If you don’t grow your own, you could use store-bought, and of course, any type of cowpea will work fine. I start by chopping a slice or two of bacon, and put it in a pot over medium to start browning.

Then I use my nifty Vidalia Chop Wizard to quickly chop an onion and throw it in the pot, too. Although I have a food processor, this gadget is quicker to use and clean up when I have a small job. (And it’s fun.)

Vidalia Chop Wizard Makes Quick Work of Chopping Onion
Vidalia Chop Wizard Makes Quick Work of Chopping Onion
Vidalia Chop Wizard
Vidalia Chop Wizard

When the bacon has started to brown and the onion is translucent, I put in about two cups of water and a teaspoonful of Better Than Bouillon. If I have homemade or canned chicken broth I sometimes use that instead. You could even use plain water, I just think the chicken broth adds depth of flavor.

Better Than Bouillon
Better Than Bouillon

I add the frozen cowpeas, bring them to a boil, then lower the heat back to a simmer. After they’ve cooked awhile I add salt and pepper to taste. After about 30-45 minutes they’ll be ready to eat. Enjoy!

Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas
A steamy pot of Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas
Helpful Links

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds


 

Oak Hill Homestead

Cedarwood Lodge ~ Trout-Fishing Destination

We recently met some close friends for a weekend at Cedarwood Lodge on the White River near Flippin, Arkansas. It was such a nice resort and we had such a good time! The owners, Ken and Mary Ann Green, were very nice and welcoming. They even arranged great weather. My first impression was “Wow!” You just never know what to expect when you go somewhere new, and Cedarwood Lodge exceeded our expectations!

White River
White River from Cedarwood Lodge Dock

Located right on the White River, the views were beautiful, and the setting serene. It was the perfect place to feel like we were getting away, and yet still have everything we needed to be comfortable and have a great time. Grocery stores, including a Walmart Super Center, were only about a twenty-minute drive away.

Accommodations
River Cottage at Cedarwood Lodge
River Cottage

The lodge consists of three different buildings that can accomodate up to 25 people, plus a separate Dining Hall. Our party consisted of 12, so we stayed in a combination of the River Lodge and River Cottage.

Cedarwood Lodge River Lodge
River Lodge

We were also able to use the Dining Hall for our meals so that there was plenty of room for us to all cook and eat together. I was really impressed with how well-stocked the kitchens were. It was so nice to have everything we needed to make our gluttonous meals.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The grounds were well-kept and nicely landscaped, and offered a variety of options for gathering both indoors and out.

Fishing

Trout fishing is the claim to fame of the area. Some of us used one of Cedarwood Lodge’s rental boats, and others hired Bent Rod Guide Service. They all caught their limit of fish and had a great time.

Happy Fishermen at Cedarwood Lodge
Happy Fishermen

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cedarwood Lodge has Rental Boats
Goin’ Fishin’!
Shore Lunch

As a special treat, we experienced the “shore lunch” offered by the Bent Rod fishing guides. They provided fried trout, fried potatoes, cole slaw, and macaroni salad. They even brought boiled eggs from their own chickens, and sliced tomatoes straight out of their garden! One of their wives is a baker, so they brought an assortment of generous cake slices for dessert. It’s called a “shore lunch,” because normally they fix it right on the shore for their clients, but on this occasion they were able to use this nice dining hall. It was quite a feast, and you can’t eat your fish any fresher!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Escaping & Exploring

If fishing isn’t your thing, then you might enjoy reading a good book on the deck overlooking the river, visiting with friends, or just relaxing.

Relaxing on the Cedarwood Lodge deck overlooking the White River
Relaxing on the deck overlooking the White River

The girls went exploring. We found some flea markets and enjoyed the quaint towns and beautiful river views. We also went for an invigorating morning walk down the country roads.

Flea Market in Gassville Arkansas
Flea Market in Gassville Arkansas

You also don’t have to be totally unplugged as all the cabins have TVs with satellite, and internet wi-fi.

Club 178

My husband and I arrived the day before the others, so we ventured to Bull Shoals to eat at Club 178. We were surprised to find this hidden gem – they had wonderful food and an upscale atmosphere. It would be suitable for a special evening or celebration, but equally comfortable for a more casual night out.

If you’re looking for a place where you can take your family or friends for a great getaway, then take a look at Cedarwood Lodge‘s website for more information. When you call Mary Ann to book your stay, tell her the Mid-Life Blogger sent you. It would tickle me pink to send a deserving business some new customers. I’d say it’s definitely worth the drive!

If you subscribe, future posts will be delivered straight to your inbox, so you don’t have to go fishin’ for ’em!

Helpful Links:

Bent Rod Guide Service

Cedarwood Lodge

Club 178

Cedarwood Lodge
Cedarwood Lodge

Empty Nest ~ What’s Next?

We just celebrated our youngest’s 18th birthday by moving her into the college dorm. She’s at a great school and I’m really happy for her, but as my husband said, “I’m excited for her, but sad for me.” This is a big change for us as both of our children are now grown.

University Campus
University Campus
Empty Nest - Dorm Hallway
Dorm Hallway

We spent a few days getting our daughter settled, and attending meetings for parents. When we finally said our goodbyes and left her, we went to meet a group of friends for a weekend on the White River. By the time Scott and I arrived at the cabins early in the evening, we couldn’t believe how exhausted we were. The emotional roller coaster had taken a stealthy toll on us.

Letting Go

Three of the four couples had just left their youngest child at the same college, so we shared a lot of the same emotions. (The fourth couple will take their youngest next Fall.) The timing of that trip together was perfect, and amazingly therapeutic. It was nice to kick off our Empty Nest phase with some close friends.

I happened to read Dear Kindergarten Mom This is Where the Magic Begins and I couldn’t help but tear up. Even though my daughter wasn’t leaving for kindergarten, we were at a similar point of letting go. As we sat on the back deck overlooking the river, my friends and I discussed this very thing. It seems like every phase of raising kids is harder than the last. If we had known how hard it was to be parents, would we do it again? (Absolutely!) Our goal as parents is to prepare our children for adulthood, so when they eventually fly away it’s a mix of emotions. Pride in seeing them take on new responsibilities and challenges. Fear of the bumps in the road they’ll inevitably encounter. Sadness at not being able to see them as much and be a part of their daily life.

Margaret as a baby
Margaret as a baby

Margaret was homeschooled from the very beginning. I did everything I could to prepare her and now it’s time to let go. She’s off to a great start, and I’m really happy that she’s making new friends and getting involved. My job as a mother is never over, but it changes, and now I’ll be exploring this new frontier. (Psst! You can come along with me by subscribing!)

 

Empty Nest ~ What's Next?
Empty Nest ~ What’s Next?