About Me


Hi! I’m Mary Ellen Garde, your Empty Nest Life Coach. I am here to help you learn how YOU can fill your empty nest:

  • With joy
  • With purpose
  • With meaning
  • With fun!

When my first born was getting ready to fly the coop I could see the writing on the wall. It wouldn’t be all that long before his sister followed suit and then what? I had spent almost my entire adult life devoted to the practice of keeping my family not only healthy but happy and thriving.

Who would I be without the structure and routine of motherhood and its many facets?

  • Without the teams to organize
  • The PTO’s to serve on
  • The laundry, meals and home to keep
  • The maintenance of all four of our schedules and itineraries

I felt lost and bereft for a while. I had no idea what I would do or how I would do it. Friends offered advice and books on the “empty nest”. To be honest, none of it rang true to or for me. I tried joining book clubs and doing volunteer work in an effort to fill my days and evenings; but that, too, was ultimately unfulfilling. Not because the books were bad or the organizations poor but because they weren’t right for ME! Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the power had been within me all along!

Here’s what I learned and what I’d like to share with you:

  • What you really want (really, really want) is not elusive and it is not a big mystery (although it feels like it, I know)
  • The problem is, most of us have spent so much time caring for others and putting our needs last (or at least lower on the list than they needed to be) that it is very hard to reengage with that part of ourselves that has been silenced. You know, that small voice whispering to you – take that class, join that group, check out that soup kitchen, go to the museum or the movies- alone!
  • Once I learned how to tap into the wisdom within me and ask a few questions… the path became clear. I can help you do the same thing for yourself.

And here’s what happened after I started to listen to those whispers:

  • I started to get healthy in a way I never had before
  • I took a leap of faith and went back to school to become, of all things, a Life Coach
  • I encouraged my husband to follow his own crazy dream of starting a new business in a field he was passionate about
  • I was able to stop worrying about my children and start living my life in a way that was peaceful and powerful

These years can be some of your most exciting and fulfilling. This is a time of being able to be selfish in all the best ways. My husband and I have turned our lives upside down and inside out and we’ve never been happier or more alive. I wouldn’t trade those wonderful years I was lucky enough to be a hands on mom but I can honestly say that these days I wake up with a spring in my step and a (slightly off key) song in my heart. I am doing work that I love and spending time with people who inspire me.

How about you? Are your children getting ready to fly the coop? Do you need some help in feathering your new nest? Let me help you!

Official bio:


  • I am wife to Greg (my college sweetheart of 28 years; he’s my biggest fan, my biggest help and the yin to my yang)
  • Mother to Joey (25) and Grace (21)
  • Martha Beck Certified Life Coach (yep, the Martha Beck from O Magazine! The original Life Coach Herself is who trained me!)
  • Graduate of The Florida State University B.S. 1986, MSW 1988. My background is child development and psychology with a master’s degree in clinical social work. I worked as a school social worker for Duval County Florida before leaving for the whispering pines of Atlanta Ga.
  • My hobbies include reading (my kindle is filled with chick lit, historical fiction, a TON of personal development/self-help books, classics, literature, and the occasional YA fiction), working out, cooking (I love to try out new recipes), hiking especially with my hubby (this is new- I never realized I actually like nature!), and scrapbooking (this is my ONE and only crafty thing- I am not allowed to hold a glue gun for safety reasons but I can slap a family photo in an album with the best of them)
  • I have an AMAZING sisterhood of friends from every era of my life (seriously, I am still besties with my bff from preschool). I believe in the power of friendship and that we as women (and men too) are called to support, encourage and help one another. It is why I love working with groups- when women get together their empathy and problem solving abilities are limitless, not to mention their capacity to lift each other up and have a damn good time doing it!
  • I am a Jesus follower (not the creepy mascara running down my face, judgmental kind- think Anne Lamott not Tammy Fay) While my faith guides and informs my choices, I do not use it as a battering ram but rather as my own personal guidepost. I believe anyone who is looking for change believes in a power greater than themselves that can help lead and guide them to their ultimate destiny.