Empty Nest Marriage Tips From Ghandi – Guess We Should Listen!

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The Today Show, and author Bela Ghandi, published a short article a couple of days ago on some common challenges married couples are likely to face when all of the kids have left the nest. Our mission is to “think beyond the nest,” so it only makes sense for us to share these great tips. You can link to the actual article here, but here are their tips with a few of our comments added for a bit of extra flavor! Continue reading

TBTN Book Club: His & Her Favs

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Women are pretty good about organizing and religiously attending book club month in and month out, even if we all know it’s really about the food and wine. We know some guys have participated in book clubs, even if we know it’s more about the food and scotch. Our sense is the women still excel at the book club game.

However, one of the core ideas behind the Think Beyond the Nest blog is to share things that empty nesters, both male and female, can enjoy together. So in that spirit, we are introducing the TBTN Book Club – our list of “best sellers” or in reality, a list of books that we both agree are top notch and worthy of a read. We’re going big right from the git go – here are the books we both love and actually still keep a hard copy of around the house. In no particular order here we go: Continue reading

Costco For Two – Top Products July 2017

Thanks for the huge interest in our previous list of awesome Costco products. Fortunately for us, and hopefully you, there are so many fun Costco products to feature that we’re back with another compilation of favorites! Without any further delay, here we go: Continue reading

The Golf Course Is My New Beach


When Phil and I became Empty Nesters, one thing we decided to take up together was the game of golf. Phil had played a little growing up, but I had never picked up a club if you don’t count putt, putt golf!:) With Alzheimer’s in my family, I knew I needed to keep learning new things to keep my brain active. So, I decided to “learn” the game of golf! Since taking golf lessons with girl friends about four years ago, I have literally fallen in love with the sport for so many reasons. Here are a just a few of them:

The golf course is my beach – Growing up in Hawaii, I was a swimmer and body surfer. I know it seems crazy, but to me, golf is a lot like being at the beach and striving to catch the anticipated awesome wave. You may sit for a while waiting for that perfect wave or you may catch some dud waves. Just as in golf, you will make some really dud-worthy shots, before making a great shot. But, when you connect with the ball and make a great shot, boy, it is a true rush! For me, it’s just like catching a great wave! The rush keeps you coming back for more – sounds like an addiction to me, but I think it’s a good addiction! Beaches are beautiful and golf courses are equally as spectacular. Many times while out golfing, I’ll turn to my husband and jokingly comment, “the waves are pretty good today!” Continue reading

Teen/Young Adult Suicide – There’s Always Hope

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Unfortunately, suicide and teen/young adult suicide in particular, is a topic we are experiencing and seeing the effects of way too frequently. Our hope with this post is to do just that – offer a bit of hope and highlight a few organizations that are trying to do something to help save lives.  We encourage you to stick with this post. While it might be a bit lengthy, we want to provide at least a few resources and ways to help.

First, while we’re guessing anyone reading this has been affected by suicide one way or the other. So, while you might have highly personal experience with mental health and suicide, we did want to share a few statistics though to help demonstrate the severity and importance of this issue:

  • There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds.
  • Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. (CDC)
  • 7 in 100,000 youth ages 15 to 19 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
  • 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. (CDC)
  • 55% of college undergrads reported having suicidal thoughts at some point during their college years.

Continue reading

A Few Colorado Hikes – Now and Then

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When you live in Kansas, an obvious and popular summer vacation destination is Colorado – one state over and a straight shot on I-70. I mean that literally. You only need to turn your steering wheel twice. Once as you veer northwest past Oakley and then again as you turn left at Colby. OK, I’m already off topic.

We wanted to share just a couple of Colorado hikes we’ve been on recently, just in case you are headed that way this summer or if your future plans take you there. I (Phil) grew up going to Manitou Springs almost every summer and fell in love with Pikes Peak, the Barr Trail and the history in that area. As a teenager, I also spent a month at Cheley Colorado Camps just outside of Estes Park. We hiked/backpacked almost every trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. I will save that post for another day as you can certainly find multitudes of guides on hiking in the park. For a few years in college and immediately after, my Dad I took annual backpacking trips out to Colorado and I’m sharing one of those hikes below (Pawnee Peak). It was so good we did that one twice! Continue reading

Costco for Two – Top Ten Products: June 2017

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You know the Jeff Foxworthy bit about “You know you’re a redneck when (fill in the blank)? We now bring you the Think Beyond The Nest version, based on the idea that ever since becoming empty nesters we’ve seen our shopping habits at Costco dramatically change.  We’ve had to be much more thoughtful about what we can buy in bulk and what we can’t.  One day it occurred to us that “Costco for Two” sounded like a pretty interesting blog post!  So, we made a trip to our local Costco and have highlighted some of our current favorites.  We’d love to hear your favorites too!  Please, do share!:) Continue reading

How to Combat Pre-Surgery Anxiety and Fears

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It’s still so hard for me to believe that seven months ago I experienced open-heart surgery. When I was eight years old I was diagnosed with aortic stenosis.  My aortic valve was bicuspid and should have been a tricuspid.  I was told to go live my life normally, but one day I would need to have the valve replaced.  Two years ago an echo-cardiogram test revealed that I had entered into the critical zone for functioning aortic valves.  At age 53, the time had come.  So, plans were made to schedule the surgery and get the replacement done.  I sought out the very best cardio-thoracic surgeon in town and was told I was in great health to have an uncomplicated surgery.  All very comforting.  And months before the surgery, God put incredible people in my life to help prepare me for the surgery.  These “angels” who had had open-heart surgery themselves lovingly counseled me about what to expect and were beautiful witnesses to how great it would all turn out. Continue reading

Destination: Symphony In The (Flint) Hills

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It’s Symphony In The Hills time of year here in this neck of the woods. Many of you have probably been. But since tickets usually sell out on the first day they become available, perhaps an equal number of you have not attended. It’s an amazing and incredibly unique experience. It sounds like a cliche, but believe us, there really is nothing like it. That’s mainly because there is nothing quite like the Flint Hills of Kansas.  The hills are simple, wide open and ever-changing in color.  The hills seem to tell a story of another time in their tranquility. Combine that with symphonic music (from the full Kansas City Symphony), colorful sunsets, stars, a cattle drive, and to Lailan’s delight – real cowboys – well, it makes for a truly memorable occasion.


While we can’t make the concert this year (it’s being held on June 10 near Junction City, KS), Lailan and I went last year to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Nothing says anniversary date like a night on the prairie, but remember what I said above?  Stars, music, sunset…and cowboys!   Enough about that!  I’m pretty bummed to miss this year as the special guest is Michael Martin Murphey – y’all know the song “Wildfire” from the mid-70’s.  “She ran calling, Wild….fire….!”  Yup. Love that song. Continue reading

How To Survive a Red-Eye Flight

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First, let’s assume you’re not flying first class.  If you are, congrats and read no more. If you happen to be a commoner like me, please read on.  As many of you know, for the past six years I have been making treks out to Hawaii to check on my mom who lives in a skilled nursing facility. When I first started making these trips, I would book the 6:00 am flight out of Hawaii that would get me home to Kansas City around 11:00 pm. I would essentially spend an entire waking day traveling! Eventually, I decided to give the red-eye flight a try! I found that not only did I have a whole day at home when I got back to Kansas City, but even better, I had an extra bonus day to be with my mom, and to enjoy Hawaii! Continue reading