Finding the Divine for the “9”

There are tragic events that happen in our country and in our world every single day. Do you ever ask yourself why we can feel the real for some of them and others we seem capable of distancing ourselves for self preservation? Since learning of the tragic helicopter crash on Sunday morning, I have found myself weeping on and off for people I don’t personally know. My heart has been aching for these special lives lost and all of their beloved families.

Losing Kobe, Gianna, John, Keri, Alyssa, Sarah, Payton, Christina and Ara feels so personal. Thinking of the magnitude of loss for their families also feels so personal. As I’ve talked to family and friends about it, watched and listened to interviews and witnessed the outpouring of emotion on social media, I’m so struck how personal this feels to all of us.

But something beautiful is also happening. Have you noticed? All of America feels like one big family caring about one big family loss. We are all heartbroken together for the families of these 9 people that suddenly feel like our family too.

At first, I think many people felt such an impact because it was Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter. But then, something even deeper happened. We began to see and feel all of them. We see ourselves and our families in every one of the 9. The beautiful and heart-breaking images of them connected us. We can relate to their bonds, love and dreams.

As I’ve prayed for the 9 beautiful souls and their devastated families, I’ve asked God to help all of us grasp some purpose and light. The number of them keeps coming into my heart. Nine. I’m not well versed in spiritual numerology and I’m certainly not an expert in biblical interpretation but it’s safe to say there is significant, divine, prophetic, spiritual meaning in 9.

Number 9 symbolizes the completeness of God. Number 9 represents the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. It represents faith, spiritual enlightenment and energy without motive. It represents universal love. The fact that so many of our hearts are in unison at this moment over these “9” feels like something important we should stop and take note of. It feels like a spiritual gift if we want to open it and receive it.

At least for today, we are blessed that we are able to get back to the normality of our lives. That isn’t the case for the families of these 9. May we honor them all by not quickly forgetting this universal love they made us all feel. I feel the divine from this 9.83208128_10163547016480455_4912859793921671168_o

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.comhttps://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

2020 Resolutions–Knowing what I don’t want always leads me to what I do!

It’s been hard finding the time to write lately. It settles me to put my heart into words. Tonight, it feels especially important to put my 2020 hopes and “resolutions” into my new planner and out into the universe.

The rest of my family is out tonight, all doing fun things. That feels really nice so I put my perfect date night with “myself” into motion. I know I want to write but I want it to be inspired and not forced. So, I take a quiet bubble bath, something I haven’t slowed down to do since my achy last half marathon a couple of years ago! Next, I make my favorite dinner of salmon, enough for my 14 year old lab because I feel worried she hasn’t been eating enough. It’s dark, cold and raining so I pour a glass of an elegant Oregon Pinot Noir to give it a cozy feel. After, I grab my computer. I light a fire in the fireplace. I sit on the floor with my furry best friend all snuggled up next to me. Together, we peacefully coexist. She’s happy to have me still and next to her. I feel the same so I’m inspired to begin.

 Rather than a whole list of resolutions (that are often too enthusiastic and unrealistic anyway), it has always helped me to just choose 5 words to grow by. This year, I’ve chosen Faith, Love, Health, Discipline and Growth. I believe keeping those words close to me will lead me to make good decisions within my 2020 days and year.

Reflecting is helpful. I’m older now. My mature heart longs to be less selfish and have more substance. I want to make sure my “resolutions”/goals are all in line with that desire. My mature heart is what drove me to write my book. But my heart still wants to do more. I know my ability to write is a gift from God and it feels purposeful. I have always felt there is power and magic in the written word. In the last few years, I feel guided to write. So I’m listening, I’m writing. I’m hoping it touches the right hearts.

Whenever I try to figure out my direction, sometimes I find it easier to listen to what I don’t want. It always seems to guide me to what I do. I have goals in all areas of my life but as I said, my mature heart longs to have a life filled with real meaning. The world pushes “superficial” on us and it leaves us feeling stressed, anxious and some depressed. Accomplishments, possessions, perfection, etc. etc. In my opinion, that’s not what fills us up or calms us down. It’s being a loving person and being surrounded by loving people that is the key to our joy. I will make my decisions for all parts of my life with this in mind and heart. This leads me to writing about what I don’t want in 2020 so that it steers me to what I do want to be and what I want my life to mean.

I don’t want to lead a busy, busy life doing things that don’t bring me joy. I don’t want to be someone who isn’t grateful for my blessings. I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t understand that our struggles are also blessings, filled with lessons for our journey. I don’t want struggles to make me bitter.

I don’t want to be a wife who doesn’t take time to really look at my husband and hear his dreams and his struggles. I don’t want to be a family member that is removed from needs of my whole family. I don’t want to be a mom who doesn’t help my kids dream, or that drops the ball or misses a cry for help.

I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t answer your text or can’t keep our plans. I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t lift you up or make your dreams important to me too. I don’t want to be too busy or self involved to ask you if you’re ok. I don’t want to be too busy to ask if your loved ones are ok too.

 I don’t want to spend my life “online” and always be plugged in.  I also don’t want to be totally disconnected from the world and people I care about.  I don’t want to be the person on social media that spreads negativity, ignores your pain or resents your joy.

I don’t want to be a writer that writes inspiration-I want to be an inspired person who writes and shares. I don’t want to spend my days trying to be an “influencer” or following them…but I hope to always be a good influence. I don’t want to be a person who wants to have a big “following” and never values people enough to follow them back.

 I don’t want to be the neighbor that doesn’t see you outside or that you can’t ask for help. I don’t want to be the one who lets everyone else always pick up the tab. I don’t want to be the person that never volunteers. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t take time help people in need.

 I don’t want to be the one who pushes my political views on you or makes you feel bad for yours. I don’t want to claim to be a good Christian but then judge you or make you feel bad. I don’t want to talk about my friends behind their back.

I don’t want to spend time with people who don’t make me feel good. I don’t want to ignore my physical, spiritual or mental health. I don’t want to have unhealthy habits as a way of life. I don’t want to have bad manners. I don’t want to treat people in my life in bad ways that affect their health or mental health.

I don’t want my year to be about just what I want. I don’t want to be shallow. I don’t want you to be shallow with me. I don’t want to be ignored. I don’t want to ignore you. I don’t want us to forget that we’re connected. I don’t want us to not include each other in our resolutions and goals. 

Happy New Year! I’m wishing you don’t have a lot of things you don’t want. I hope this helps inspire clarity to what we do want and need in 2020.

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.comhttps://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

Happy Fall

I love Fall but if you’re like me, you hate the transition of getting of here. I love Summer the most and it’s always hard for me to part ways with it. It seems it takes me until right now in October to be able to say Happy Fall. Now that I’ve fought through the transition and said my long, tough good-bye to Summer, I’m ready to embrace the treasures of Fall!

After some busy travel, on the way home from the airport yesterday, I noticed the trees in my neighborhood seemed to have changed colors over night. It’s funny how even a quick change of scenery, makes you see things more clearly when you get back. Right then, I made a commitment to get in a good walk today to be able to take in Fall’s beauty. I truly love to experience the glorious and changing colors of the leaves. I think it’s especially cool how each tree does it’s own thing, in it’s own colors, in it’s own time!

I especially enjoy a walk, run or hike in the Fall because the cool, crisp air is so invigorating. It seems to give us a little extra power, right? I also love how the temperature change invites cozy sweaters and cute boots. It’s a good season for Fashion!

As a football fan, Fall means there’s new hope for our favorite college and professional teams. This is the season, we’ll get ’em! We get to gather on our favorite campuses, stadiums and couches with the people we love who share our team love!

As a foodie who loves to cook, Fall means a whole new batch of farm fresh foods to keep our tables interesting! I think Fall crisp apples are an immediate mood enhancer! They’re so happy and delicious! And, I’m sucker for trying any recipe with butternut squash or pumpkin. How about you?

With the shift in weather and kids back in school, colds and allergies start up fast! Our immune systems welcome healthy soups and is there anything more cozy and healing, than a warm, delicious bowl of Fall?

Whatever the season, I now push myself to get in sync with it because ancient wisdom shows us the importance of it. We’re part of the universe and nature! When we embrace the season we’re in by getting ourselves in sync with it, we feel more centered! It’s vital for our mind, body and soul. So, whatever season we love, let’s celebrate it big when we’re in it, but let’s keep moving into the season at hand. Unsticking ourselves is so important so we can be totally present for the present! That’s when we feel our best!

So instead of dreading the early dark evenings, I’ll embrace being in jammies earlier and getting more sleep for good health. I’ll read more. I’ll visit pumpkin patches, vineyards and farmer’s markets. I’ll roast lots of fresh vegetables, eat more apples, make soulful soups and bake warm pumpkin bread. I’ll go to football games! I’ll plant bulbs, go on hikes, notice colors, and bring those colors into my home and wardrobe. I’ll get rid of Summer profile pics and replace them with some flannel. I’ll take lessons from the trees and let go of what’s dead and no longer serves me. I’ll build my roots and interior stronger in order for me to make beautiful new blooms! During the transition of seasons, sometimes we feel off and don’t know why. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting ourselves in sync with what’s changing. I hope you have a beautiful, happy Fall season and maybe found a little inspiration here to help get yourself there!

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.comhttps://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

Skewer Parties are Fun!

Get the party started with a beautiful and refreshing Aperol Spritz
https://www.aperol.com/en-us/aperol-spritz-ritual

I don’t know about you but I get excited about food on a skewer! When I see it, I just feel like fun is on it’s way! They’re so cute, I challenge you to hold one and not be enlivened as you bite and see what’s lined up next on the stick for your tastebuds.

I recently threw a small birthday celebration for a dear friend. Our Oregon Summer nights have such perfect temperatures. I thought it would be fun to have one for her on my back patio where she could feel special with friends in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere.

No one feels relaxed when a hostess is running all around preparing food. It’s much more comfortable for everyone when we can figure out a way to entertain that keeps an easy vibe. I decided a Skewer Party would be fun to try in order to achieve that. Besides skewers being cute and fun, they’re able to be prepared ahead of time. Once I set them on the counter, we were free to enjoy a comfortable, easy evening with the birthday girl!

My skewer menu was was farm to fork because Summer foods are so fresh, colorful and yummy, it called for it. However, as I was creating it, I realized how fun this kind of party can also be in Fall, Winter and Spring because each season brings us their own signature foods. I’m thinking a Greek, Italian or Asian food Skewer Party may coming soon too! So many fun possibilities!

If you enjoy having friends over or just want to make a family dinner night more fun, I hope these cute skewers inspire you!

Castelvetrano Olives and Swiss Cheese
( So easy! I sprinkled pistachio nuts among them and the extra green looked so pretty but forgot to take a picture later!)
Cherry Tomato Mix Caprese Skewers
( Try with a Balsamic Glaze or olive drizzle)
Watermelon, Feta Cheese and Fresh Mint Skewers
A sprinkle of Sea Salt or Balsamic glaze is also delicious on these!
Grilled Skirt Steak Skewers
with Horseradish Sour cream
Chocolate Drizzled Brownie, Strawberries and Marshmallow Skewers

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.com

If you’d like to save any of these ideas on your Pinterest Boards follow her @https://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

Summer Grillin’ and Chillin’

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Hey there blog friends! I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog. It’s been a month of full of busy! It’s finally Summer though…..ahhhh deep breath. Summer is my favorite time of year! I’m not sure it will slow down much for me but at least it will be filled with longer days of sunshine, family and friends. I hope that’s the case for all of us!

I promised you a variety of inspiration on my blog and no season inspires me as much as Summer. Maybe it’s because I’m a Summer baby?!

Besides the vibe, warmth and sunshine, one of my favorite things about Summer is the gorgeous bounty of food it brings. Everything is so ripe and colorful! Farm to Fork is my favorite way to create a menu and eat, so I try to get to our local Farmers’ Market as much as possible during the Summer. I absolutely love the palettes of fresh, beautiful fruits, vegetables and flowers!

I also love that Summer is grilling season. Can we all agree that grilled foods are some of the tastiest? Grilling allows us to present food so clean and unfussy. Fresh fruits, veggies and grilled food make for such a perfectly delicious Summer food combination. It’s art for the eyes and food for our souls.

Loving grilled food, I’ve made sure I have that skill in my personal tool box. My husband has had to travel a lot for work over the years so I’ve gotten pretty handy at various tasks around the house. Grilling is one of them!

In general, I enjoy the creativity and love involved in cooking. It warms my heart to make food for my family and friends–it’s definitely one of my love languages. Summer evenings and temperatures are so lovely in Oregon and cooking outside feels more like a beautiful experience than a chore.

Throughout the Summer, I’ll share a few of my favorite grilled Summer meals. I hope it inspires you to be outside, get to a local Farmers’ Market and hone your “grill skills”.  All of those things I promise, will fill your heart with some of life’s simple joys.

Here’s what was on the menu at our house for Father’s Day. My hubby loves a juicy pork chop and a Summer peach so that’s what we gave him!

Grilled Pork Chops with Traeger’s Apricot BBQ Sauce, topped with balsamic glazed grilled peaches, Grilled Corn on the Cob and a Watermelon, feta, mint leaf salad with a balsamic glaze.

Link to Traeger’s Apricot BBQ Sauce:https://www.traegergrills.com/sauces/apricot-bbq-sauce?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=1818582670&utm_kwd=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwo7foBRD8ARIsAHTy2wl4L0-u71ooWwbP4F_zCmWwY7IH7Q-9J-g2KCdmBXJMwJlsBlCzR_4aAiP6EALw_wcB

I paired this meal with an Oregon Pinot Noir of course!
Link to Ponzi Wines:
https://www.ponzivineyards.com/product/2015-Ponzi-Pinot-Noir-Reserve?pageID=3F5D6E95-ACCA-B533-3700-17F0E1015B40&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=10&

Another delicious Ponzi Pinot Noir is their Tavola (often available at Costco and wine.com see link below )
https://www.wine.com/product/ponzi-tavola-pinot-noir-2017/522571?state=CA&s=GoogleBase_CSE_&cid=GoogleBase_CSE_522571_3664&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_CA_Beta&gclid=Cj0KCQjwo7foBRD8ARIsAHTy2wmLTm2wvHGhbt0tV-yaiO9yE80CgPVK3SS005gIaBTag30yc5KGbAgaAqXTEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds#

Beets for your Sweet? Valentine Risotto❤️❤️

I’ve said on many occasions, cooking for my family and friends is one of my favorite ways to show them how much I love them. I can’t think of a better “holiday” than Valentine’s Day to prepare a special food dish that is sure to warm their heart. I really enjoy making risotto, especially in the Winter. It’s pretty cold and rainy in the Pacific Northwest so a bowl of comfort food always feels warm and cozy to the soul. This week I felt inspired to take my Risotto recipe (I’ve been tweaking it for a few years) and add fresh, healthy beets to get a Valentine’s feel as well as a healthy boost! I wasn’t sure how the color red would translate into the dish but the final look was beautifully appealing and appetizing. The deep red crimson color of the beets was absolutely gorgeous!


I’ll be honest, it makes for messy red hands and fingers during the prep but it easily washes off with dish soap and the recipe is so easy it’s worth it!

If you’re looking for some Valentine gift inspiration, this will make a beautiful and delicious personal present from your own hands and heart. I’m a latecomer to beets myself but this dish will win over any daring beet skeptic…especially when you add the 2 cheeses! So yummy!


This Beet Risotto is filled with amazing flavor, health and beauty! Beets are low in calories and a great source of vitamins, nutrients and fiber-with health benefits ranging from assisting in lowering blood pressure to helping fight inflammation. They’re a great Valentine’s gift for a heart you want to help keep healthy!

  • Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 3-4 medium beets, peeled and shredded (easily done against a hand shredder)
  • 3 cups arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup of red wine
  • Approximately 5-6 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 cup of goat cheese
  • 2/3 cup of fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Melt butter and add oil in heavy large skillet/wok or Dutch oven saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions to coat, then beets and garlic. Sauté until onion and beets are soft, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Mix in rice and let rice get a bit toasty.
  4. Then add wine and mix well until dissolved into the rice-onion-garlic-beet mixture.
  5. Add about half of the broth first. Increase heat; bring to a small boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Then slowly keep adding broth by 1/2 cup until it’s absorbed. Simmer uncovered until rice and beets are a desired texture. About 20-25 minutes.
  7. Add goat cheese and stir until completely dissolved.
  8. Shut off heat and add parmesan cheese.
  9. Spoon into white bowls to appreciate its beautiful color. Sprinkle with fresh basil and or Italian parsley and shaved Parmesan cheese. Enjoy❤️

For an even more colorful and healthy bowl, you can add roasted beets and brussel sprouts.

For an even more colorful and healthy bowl, add roasted beets and brussel sprouts.

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.comhttps://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

The Craze of the Graze! Grazing Table, why not?

If you’re not aware of one of the latest crazes in entertaining, “The Grazing Table”, then I’m excited I get to be the one to introduce it to you! I love entertaining and I’m always looking for ways to be a relaxed hostess so I can enjoy my friends. The Grazing Table is easy, fun, festive and a delicious way to feed everyone!

For the last 22 years, my daughters and I have hosted a Mother & Daughter Cookie Exchange. It’s more like a Soirée! Sure, we all “swap” homemade cookies but it’s also a festive party and celebration of Christmas, friendships and the bond between Mothers and Daughters.

For our party food this year, we decided to take on the Grazing Table! I’ve been seeing them in wedding & event photos and everywhere on Pinterest! My daughters and I feel like appetizers are one of the most fun parts of a festive dinner anyway, so why not turn it into the meal?! We also enjoy creating beautiful charcuteries so why wouldn’t we make a giant one? It was really fun to create our party’s Grazing Table and it turned out pretty cute for being our first one. They’re awesome and you can go so many different directions with them. We had everything from Sushi to shrimp, from chicken tenders to grilled chicken, baked brie to other assorted cheeses , veggies, olives and nuts. Our party guests were all ages, so the Grazing Table allowed us to have something for everyone! Hope you get to create one or at least enjoy one soon. Come follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration!

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Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com or https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-Following-Focusing/dp/1532057342/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=grow+yourself+beautiful&qid=1567376389&s=gateway&sr=8-1 or https://sharonpeddieblog.comhttps://www.pinterest.com/sharonpeddie/pins/

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal. My photographs are my personal property. They may only be used in the sharing of my blog posts but cannot be used or reproduced independently.

Gratitude is Beautiful!

For these first 10 days of November I’m inviting ALL of you (all ages women & men) to join me on a journey to “Open our hearts to a deeper gratitude”. Each day on my Instagram: Author_sharoncaldwellpeddie I will have a new gratitude thought for us to incorporate on our journey.

Living with a heart full of gratitude makes us and our life feel more beautiful. I believe that so much I devoted an entire chapter in my book to “Thankfulness and Gratitude”. Life keeps us so busy we can forget to really open our hearts to notice and truly “receive” our blessings. When we do we become healthier, more joyful, peaceful and feel so beautiful. We are then able to share our beauty with others too. For fun, on your calendar today, rate your joy on a scale of 1-10 and rate how beautiful you feel on a scale of 1-10. We will
check back in ourselves on Nov. 11 and see if we’ve “grown ourselves more beautiful”. 🧡

growyourselfbeautiful💕💗

http://www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com

Professional Book Reviews of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”

https://www.blueinkreview.com/book-reviews/grow-yourself-beautiful-a-smart-girls-guide-to-following-her-heart-and-focusing-on-her-inner-joy/

http://www.pacificbookreview.com/grow-yourself-beautiful/

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/sharon-caldwell-peddie/grow-yourself-beautiful/

https://www.theusreview.com/reviews/Grow-Yourself-Beautiful-by-Sharon-Caldwell-Peddie.html#.Xa4joy-ZM1g

https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/grow-yourself-beautiful/

For some of us, the grief is real when we drop our kids off at college.

As of last weekend, I have now had the privilege and heartache of dropping off 3 daughters at college. I would love to say the feelings after drop off got easier with each one but it didn’t. I have observed other parents over the years who seem to do it with such ease. I have often wondered what’s wrong with me because I literally feel like someone died as I drive away. Each time, the grief has been there for me. Upon arrival back home, I can barely look in their room. I can barely look at my dog laying in their room because I can tell the dog feels it too.

I’m sharing this because if you feel the same way, I don’t want you to feel alone– and I also have experience to let you know we will be just fine. If you’ve never dropped off a kid at college, you may want to read this to help prepare yourself. These emotions can take us by surprise. I’m a strong and independent person. I’m not someone who feels I need kids to take care of in order to feel a real sense of purpose– but I have loved being a parent. I have especially loved being a mom. This will be my favorite title until the day I die. Not because of purpose but because of the enormous love being a mom has brought to my life.

I have been all in. I loved baking cookies and carving pumpkins. I loved helping them name their Barbies and snuggling up for their favorite shows. I loved getting roped in to be the field trip chaperone, run the school auction and drive the homecoming float. From girl scout leader to dance & sports team “momager”, I volunteered for anything they needed to support their interests and development. Yes, it was exhausting. It was especially exhausting to stay up way too late quizzing them with notecards that could have and should have been done during normal hours. At times, it felt like sleep torture to make sure they got home safely after their many nights out with friends. But I have loved every magical, loving, exhausting moment of being a mom.

Will I ever know the lyrics to latest songs again? Will singing in my car ever be as much fun as it was with a bunch of teenage girls? Will I stay committed to keep learning the latest technology without them? Will my kitchen and backyard ever be the sacred psychologist couch or fun dance floor again?

Having been through this a few times, here’s what I’ve learned. If we do it right. If we were in it with them, they remember it. They are as bonded with us as we are with them. Yes many of us will grieve. It makes sense. A very important part of our life will never be the same, so of course we’re going to feel like something or someone died. The feeling of grief is real and earned.

However, I think it’s important to our joy to understand exactly what we’re grieving. This is where I hope I can help. If our kids made it to college, they are thriving and well! Having our kids thriving and well is always our goal as parents, right? They are embarking on a very important and exciting adventure, so we don’t need to grieve “them”. They are the epitome of life right now! We are just grieving the chapters we lived and loved so much with them. But let’s not stay stuck, we have many wonderful chapters with them waiting for us!

Since two of my daughters are now through college, I can happily report that we still get to have them! Part of being a good parent, is being someone they can count on. Who in this crazy world doesn’t need a person in their life that they can truly count on. Who doesn’t need someone who has their best interest at heart and will give honest, solid advice? We still get to be that person and they need us more than ever. While our lives and schedules are simplifying a bit with their independence, their pressures and responsibilities are growing. They need mature best friends who they can go to for advice and comfort. That’s us!!

College is fun but it’s also exhausting and hard. They will need to call you and have you assure them they can handle it. They will call you (and show you where your parenting holes are) when they aren’t sure how to do something. They don’t have money, so no worries, you’re going to hear from them!

They grow to appreciate the comforts of home and come back often so they can feel them as needed. Even when they get their first job out of college, it takes several pay checks to be able to afford rent/a house down payment, outfitting a home and all the costs that go with independence. They may just need to move back in for a bit to develop a little nest egg so they don’t have to start out in debt.

Trust me when I tell you (and remind myself too), your grief will soon be replaced with enormous pride and many fun new chapters. Sure they look different than the previous ones, but they are just as sweet and in many ways even better!

Try not to burden your kids with your feelings of grief because they have many feelings of their own during this time. Talk it through with your friends who are in the same place and feeling the same things. I promise this all passes. Use this time to get back to building you. Build your Mind, Body, Soul, Interests, Retirement Fund, Second Act, etc. We’ve earned it, we deserve it. The stronger we are, a stronger example and friend we will always be for them.

(Sharon Caldwell Peddie is the author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful”. For more information on her book, visit http://www.sharoncaldwellpeddie.com, amazon.com or follow: sharonpeddieblog.com)