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During my summer travels, I found myself in quiet reflection and found a clear sense of self-awareness. I realized during those times, I needed a new career path and change of heart. Maybe a change of attitude as well.

A new career and an attitude adjustment. That was it. That’s the ticket. And change is good. Now that summer is over and fall is approaching we ponder the change of seasons and the transition into the new school year. It’s an exciting time and to some, a scary time.

Not only do I have a new job , I now have a senior in high school and a senior in college. Oh my! What happened? And, boy—how time flew by!

The job change is a positive one—I feel very optimistic about it. I tend to gravitate toward the positive and if I feel I am in a toxic environment or feel I am being too negative well, time to evaluate and move on.

From time to time, we have to examine where we are in life—and if our career choices are making us happy or we are complaining too much, I feel the change has to happen within us first. I was complaining a lot. And, therefore, I decided to make the change.

It is a start of the school year and a beginning for many parents sending kids off to school. Whether the first year of college or the first day of kindergarten, it’s a transition for all. I really don’t get too mushy about my kids growing older. Sure—I will have my teary break down moments but I also see their growing older as a positive thing. This is the way it is to be, right? Do I want my kids to stay living in my house forever? Not really. As we navigate through the senior year with all the senior “to do” lists, I see it as a good thing.

We travelled a few weeks ago back to my hometown. I love the quietness and the security of my small hometown in Northeast Nebraska. I didn’t have an agenda at all—just a chance to catch up with family before the craziness of the school year begins. Again, the summer of the slowdown for the Zimmer family was topped off with a trip to the quiet, quaint town of where I grew up.

I woke the first morning and grabbed by first cup of coffee. I enjoyed and took the scenery of my mother in laws back porch. I took deep breaths—staring at the I-pad and phone, trying to ignore messages. It is very difficult for me to do-but I tried.

Again—the back porch sittin’ gave me time to reflect on a new job—new opportunities. Change. My son and oldest is wrapping up his college career. Soon he will be in job search mode. Going into the teaching profession like his dad. I over heard him say that he couldn’t wait to get his own classroom. That is super exciting to me as I feel he has found his calling for a career path. His attitude is good. I pray it stays that way.

I pray for that for my kids a lot. During the quiet moments of the summer, I found a lot of comfort in prayer. It helped me take the focus off of me—and all the changes going on in my life and concluded that God is in control. I am not in control. In the midst of all that is going on in our fast paced, crazy world, prayer helps me to focus on what I can control. My attitude.

At the end of the summer, my daughter invited friends over to our house for s’mores and a bonfire. It was great to have them in our home and talk to them about their future plans. I was impressed that they were faith focused and grounded. Some of them expressed fear of graduation—leaving the unknown and comforts of their high school. But they all reminded me in this time of change for them that there is always hope. Their future is bright, their attitudes are good. I pray they stay that way.

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Renae Zimmer

My name is Renae Riddle Zimmer. I was born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska. I am a Midwest girl. I married my high school sweetheart, Dave Zimmer and raised two awesome kids. Nolan, 21 and Kamryn, 17. As we approach our empty nest years—we reflect a lot on our life—our kids—and being a part of the “sandwich” generation as well. Taking care of teenagers and aging parents. All the joys and difficulties that are ahead. We are solid in our faith—solid in our family and we love each other, support each other. I work a corporate job and travel. My husband is an educator and coach. We love to cook, garden, landscape, watch sports and enjoy our kids activities. We follow up college-age son as he runs cross country and track for Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo. And support our daughter as she is in the last year of high school . Where did the time go?

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