Empty Nexter: How to plan your funeral in three easy steps

carrie and dad

By Carrie Perrien Smith I got the call from Mom at 4:10 on the afternoon of Saturday, February 21. It was punctuated with “I don’t know what I will do without your father.” At age 72, Dad was gone. I put three changes of clothes, my toiletries, and a few essentials into my duffel bag [...]

Empty Nexter: Tips for deciding how much to give back


By Carrie Perrien Smith We just finished wrapping up reviewing our finances and taxes. A big part of that is our charitable giving. I was thrilled we were able to give a nice sum of money. I reflected on the early days of our charitable giving and what I’d learned. I thought I’d pass that [...]

Empty Nexter: It’s our time to take the lead

knockout roses, carrie

By Carrie Perrien Smith I love the flexibility and freedom that empty nesting provides me. We all give so much to our family during our child-rearing years that we need the break — but never for long. We have much left to give so we turn to our communities or dive deeper into our career. [...]

Empty Nexter: Why we must take the risk

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By Carrie Perrien Smith I’m the oldest of Generation X. We’re the first generation to know what it is like to enter the workforce and not encounter barriers just because we’re female. We didn’t have to claw our way to the top, burn our bras, or march in front of the White House to compete [...]

Empty Nexter: How to be remembered fondly — and often

carrie and friends

By Carrie Perrien Smith Sometimes someone enters your life and weaves himself into it. That’s the way Jim was. He married my long-time friend, Kelly, eight years ago. He was a kind, cheerful, easy-going, helpful guy. That’s what she needed to help raise her three young men. We attended their parties, and they attended ours. [...]

Empty Nexter: Living with and letting go of tradition


By Carrie Perrien Smith The holidays present so many challenges. Probably my biggest one has been managing my daughter’s grandparents’ expectations of her appearance at their holiday meals. She is grown now and has a child of her own, and it’s still going on. From the time I married her dad when we were right [...]

Empty Nexter: Two Tips for Preventing Fatigue and Performing Better


By Carrie Perrien Smith The older I get, the more I need to know about how to make my body perform well. My peak at forty-eight isn’t what it was at twenty-eight. I am proud to say that I’m in better physical condition today than I was then. I can thank a healthy diet, cardio [...]

Empty Nexter: No honey, you can’t retire yet

By Carrie Perrien Smith The last thirty days have been full of milestones. We just celebrated my husband’s sixty-first birthday, the fifteenth anniversary of his proposal to me, his thirty-year service anniversary with Walmart, and our two-year anniversary of moving into the distressed house we shouldn’t have bought. In addition, I also quietly celebrated the [...]

Empty Nexter: The difficult decision to prune (your life)

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By Carrie Perrien Smith Each spring, my Japanese maple looks like a teenager with thick, wavy hair who is long overdue for a haircut. It can manage that extra fullness, but it looks a lot nicer when the excess growth is trimmed. It is also healthier and more productive when its resources are dedicated to [...]

Empty Nexter: Praying powerfully in spite of the unknowns

Carrie Perrien Smith-51-Twitter-Square

By Carrie Perrien Smith Last year, KLRC, our local Christian contemporary music station put a focus on human trafficking. This complex international problem involves acquiring people for use in prostitution or pornography; forced or bonded labor such as domestic servitude, begging, or manufacturing; extraction of organs; as well as other atrocities. Thirty-five percent are under [...]