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Linda Hanstra is a mother of four, wife of one, who writes to encourage empty-nesters on topics of family, faith, travel, and more at

Last year, my parents celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary together, here on earth. Today, on what would have been their 65th, they are together in heaven. It’s made me ponder the importance of anniversaries and of marking the years with gratitude. We may not all be lucky enough to make…

My friend Deb read 103 books in 2020. I was beyond impressed.

I read twelve. There are many reasons my number was in the 10’s and not in the 100’s. But the excuse I most often give is “I’m a slow reader.”

I wish I could zip through books like…

A speech-language pathologist explores the power of words and Amanda Gorman’s inauguration day poem.

Pow!words. That’s the term I’ve coined for my vocabulary students. I’ve told them that words have power and the more words they know, the better words they choose, the more power they have to communicate. After all, communication is what it’s all about. I’m a speech-language pathologist.

Speech pathology during a pandemic.

Last spring, when…

— Empty Nest Living | Linda Hanstra

“Then the tables turned. As my children needed less of me, my parents needed more.”

Will you let me be your servant?

Let me be as Christ to you

Pray that I may have the grace

To let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on a journey


Linda Hanstra | Empty Nest Living

Note: This article explores grief and sadness, which are related to but not the same as clinical depression. If you are experiencing signs of clinical depression, please seek professional help.

PC T L (Unsplash)

“It’s been one month today.”

I hit Send on my “sister chat.”

It seemed important to acknowledge the one-month anniversary of Dad’s death. That now-familiar…

-Linda Hanstra | Empty Nest Living

Back in January of 2020, I wrote a story about the “permacloud” that was hanging over my little corner of the world in southwest Michigan. I mentioned the sadness we were all feeling due to the gloom and doom of…the weather.

In retrospect, it seems so shallow of me to…

— Empty Nest Living | Linda Hanstra

I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of becoming a grandmother. It won’t be long now.

I imagine cradling that little bundle, my own son’s child. Beyond that though, I can’t really imagine becoming “Grandma”. Will I know what to do? Do I have what it takes?


— Empty Nest Living | Linda Hanstra

Warmer temperatures have finally arrived in southwest Michigan. That, combined with an inexplicable (ha!) urge to get out of the house has resulted in a few invigorating bike rides this week. …

Today, the 26th of March, was the day we would have boarded a plane for our dream vacation to Ireland and Scotland.

Obviously, that is not happening.

Just three weeks ago, our youngest daughter was studying abroad in Ireland and my husband and I were planning a grand trip to…

Question: What do “Amazing Grace” and “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” have in common?

Let me give you a clue.

I recently discovered the playlist: “Rita Wilson’s Quarantunes.” Wilson, who contracted COVID-19 along with her husband Tom Hanks, put this eclectic mix together with input from her fans…

Linda Hanstra

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