R5F – October, Crock Pots, Coincidences and Songs

It’s Friday (whoo!) It’s random (whee!) It’s October! (yay!) Here are 5 randoms from this corner of the globe:

1 Hello October!  Next to September, this is my favorite month …. colors, smells, sights,  cool air, crisp nights, crock pot dinners, windows cracked, cozy blankies, time to cozy up and read … ahhh.

2 doors down & Taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

2 doors down & taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

2  Speaking of crock-pots, a friend just bought her very first one.  First. Crock Pot. A Midwest girl who never owned a crock-pot?  Guess you hear something new every day!  :) My newest favorite recipe is this one: salsa chicken.  Ready?  Dump 6 large frozen chicken breast in the crock pot, season with whatever you like (I use Mrs. Dash Onion {salt free} and a bit of fresh garlic) then pour a medium-sized jar of salsa (about 10 oz) of mild, spicy, whatever over the chicken.  Put the lid on, turn the crock pot on low, and leave for the day. That’s it.  6-8 hours later you’ll have tender, juicy and tasty chicken that is easily shredded for Tacos, wraps, poured over rice, topped on salads, etc.  Extra tip? When fully cooked and shredded, stir in 2 tbsp of cream cheese for creamy chicken goodness.  Yumm-o!

salsa chicken over rice

3  Earlier this week, one of Mom’s cousins (whom I’ve never met) sent me a friend request on Facebook.   She grew up in British Columbia, Canada, but lives at the Easter shore of Virginia.  When I looked up where she lived, I could see that she’s pretty close to my Virginia friend  Dianna – whom I met through this blog.  Sometimes the world just isn’t that big is it? :)


4  Tomorrow I’m going to visit a friend who recently had surgery; she had been told one thing about the recovery time then found out the healing time will be much, much longer.  I remember the same happening when I had foot surgery- and that feeling of being “stuck” inside.   I know she’s a reader and we both love coffee – so I have huge bags of magazines and books, coffee and chocolates and more – because when you’re laid up and bored, sometimes the very best therapy is coffee with a girlfriend and a healthy dose of chocolate!

a glimpse of heaven

5   Leaving work closer to 7 than 5 the other night, I reflected on the day, the pace, the craziness that is my work life right now.  I still love what I do, but I’m just as happy to get in the car and crank up the tunes – this one came on and it’s funny how, two days later, I’m still singing a song …. You?


What do you love about October?  Are you a crock-pot user?  What’s your “go-to” fall recipe?   What plans do you have this weekend? Any visits in your future?





Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Recipes, Share, Thoughts, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A good day

kid quotes

We’ve all had times like that.  Sometimes they run together.

One day recently the rat  sauntered into my office like he owned the place, stinking up my aura with his 2-pack-a-day habit.  Asking if I was busy (and not listening to my answer of yes, very), he took a seat before I could stop him. Not like it would have mattered. I bit my tongue as he prattled on about his life, his health, his adventures, his stresses, himself, him, him, and his other favorite topic, him.   When he pushed me for information and updates, I diverted back to his favorite topic: him.   Soon, he tired of my lack of involvement, and said with a pout, “Well I felt I owed you a visit.”   My wax museum half-smile and a squinty-eyed look was the last he saw of me before slinking away to look for crumbs and colleagues.

Before that day and since co-workers have asked … “so … what have you heard from him?”  And my answer is always the same. “Not much and that is just fine with me!”

See here’s the thing: the experience you have with someone is yours alone.  Unfortunately some save their best for everyone else – and their snarky comments, nasty treatment and *ahem* b.s. is saved for you and you alone. I know this is someone who didn’t work .. but worked hard – overtime, really  – at appearing fun-loving and well-connected.  And if you spend any time at all – any – trying to convince others that the person they know as a certain way is otherwise, you’ll come off looking like a maniac. Trust me on this.

But I know the truth.  And here’s the thing with me.  Once I know who you are … really are … I’ll accept you. If I know your spirit is good, that you are kind and hard-working and do you best to be a good person, I’m in.  100%.  To the contrary, it doesn’t matter how much veneer someone slaps on the wagon, I can recognize a Charlatan driving it from a mile away.

But hey, I didn’t bite, so in hindsight,  it was a good day!  :)


Can you relate to this story? Who do you know is one way with you but another with everyone else? How did you cope with it? Were you able to excise yourself from the situation?


go away

Categories: Determination, Faith, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random Fall Friday

It’s Friday and it’s time for 5 random thoughts from my little corner of the world.  Coffee up, let’s do this!

coffee star trek

1 A project I’m working on led to  me introducing myself to a lot of people I don’t know.  Scrolling through names on a website, I recognized a name I know  – my friend Diane, the beautiful lady with the expressive hands, whom I met at a workshop earlier this spring.  We met once, instantly connected, and when I saw her name I couldn’t help but giggle just dialing her number. We caught up like pals do and she quickly shared some insights with me.  Would have never happened had I not said YES to that workshop.  Life’s funny like that, isn’t it?

Coincidence-Fate2 Saw the cutest thing the other morning:  pulling up behind the School bus, I waited patiently as all the little choppers got on board.  One last little soldier remained, his Mom across the street holding baby sister, wrapped up in a blankie against the morning chill.  Just before he boarded, he wrapped his arms around himself in a full body hug then threw his arms out wide like he was throwing Mom a big hug.  And with that, he tromped happily up the stairs and onto the bus.    I smiled all the way to my meetings!


 3  Beautiful blogging friend Tobi, Momma to 2 little darlings, introduced me to “Stitch Fix” via her blog post “My First Stitch Fix” – and I thought it was so clever, I signed up, too.  Stitch Fix is an online styling service: you create a profile on their site, with your sizes, style/color preferences, clothing types desired (work, date nights, weekends, party clothes) and schedule a shipment. $20 gets you 5 items to try – all picked by a stylist – and your $20 goes towards the cost of what you keep. My stylist listened to my many suggestions (smile) and I received a beautiful Teal green drapey kitten-soft cardigan for work, a classic cut silver/grey sweater for work or weekends (fits like a dream) and jeans that fit like they were sewn just for me. Two items I didn’t fall in love with are going back via FREE shipping so that’s no big deal.   AND, you get $25 credit each time you refer a friend (hint, hint).   Click here for more.  :)

stitch fix style guide

Items arrive with a style guide and suggestions on how to use each piece multiple ways!


No mall for me!!

Saying no to a shopping mall = saying YES to my sanity!

4 The Grands are spending the night tonight :) Hubbs and me and Uncle will take them out for dinner and then some play time at home and cozy in for the night.  Just thinking about their happy little faces – and a date night for our boy and his girl – makes me grin.

monkeys at movies

Monkeys at the movies; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

5 September! My favorite month ~ Dry air. Sunny days. Glorious Trees.  Need I say anymore? Welcome Fall, I love you!

It won't be long before my back yard looks like this! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

It won’t be long before my back yard looks like this! An Emjayandthem (C) photo


What new thing have you tried lately? How was it?  Do you believe in coincidences or fate?  What are you looking forward to this weekend? And are you as happy as me that Fall has arrived?

Categories: Fun, Life, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Flipping back

clock_70s_flipClick-Click-Click.  That’s the sound my 70’s clock radio made, with the numbers that ‘rolled’ down from above. Do you remember?

Starry summer nights, a Canadian farm girl fine-tuning her radio to bring in American radio stations late, late at night.  Straining to hear “those crazy accents” from faraway-to-me places.  KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska, coming in clearly with a voice I’d learned to recognize: Sally-Jesse Raphael, long before she was on TV, hosting an advice/talk show.   Lonely farmers, wives with money problems, young lovers separated by difficult circumstances.  Our house was quiet and I found myself leaning in for their stories – carried through the air and across international borders – and wondering at the faces of the folks calling in.

Driving today, a song came on the radio, and it took me back to that time in my life.

“Hello?  How are you?” right at :27.   Haunting.

Singing along I looked down at all my “new” technology, Smartphone, GPS and MP3 player, and laughed. Then I cranked up the tunes and sang all the way to my meetings, remembering the summers of my youth, and a time when adventures could be as simple as imagining just who was on the other end of the line.


Do you remember the click-click-click of a clock radio? Did the numbers roll down or stay lit?  What faraway radio stations were you able to tune in?



Categories: Fun, Life, music, Personal, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random Five Fire Hose

Good morning, peeps! It’s Friday! (smile) What a week – here are a few random thoughts from mine.

1. I’ve had more meetings, trips and calls the past two weeks than any in recent memory.  It’s like drinking from a fire hose, and I don’t see it slowing anytime soon.


2.  On a couple of occasions recently I’ve been in new-to-me situations:  in front of significant, large and somewhat scary audiences waiting to pick me apart hear what I have to say.    Here’s the thing:  I’m getting it.  I’m hitting my stride and, as I do, I hear my Mom’s words in my head, “Growth never comes without growing pains.”

trying vs doing

3. Speaking of Mom, her health is a little more stable but she’s not going home.  She’s been moved to respite care which is kind of like a holding area until a bed opens up in long-term care.  My sisters say she’s adjusting but it’s difficult for her because she’s very bright and many there have dementia.  There are no personal phones there, and we’ve only been able to talk twice in a month.  I miss her.

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me... having a Killian's in Branson, MO

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO

4. Sunday I took the Grands to a movie and an afternoon of fun at the arcades.  We saw the movie “Inside Out,” which was great, but was about a little girl moving and all the emotions that come with it … Well their Mom just moved away from them a few weeks ago and the subject matter might have been too much – but here’s the thing: it allowed them to talk about it.  In the dark littlest one whispered that she’d never see her Mom again and, pushing aside the popcorn and the candies,  I hugged and kissed and reassured her that yes she would and no matter where her Mom was, she would always be hers.  Big brother leaned in and the two of them ended up pasted to/on me as the tears streamed down my face.    As hard as it’s been being away from my own Mom while she’s been sick,  this, this, is even harder.  Why? This is unnecessary.    How do you explain to a 6 and 10-year-old that some adults are selfish and aren’t likely to ever put them first?  You can’t. You remind them of who is here for them and tell them again how much they’re loved and say what they most need to hear: that her leaving is not their fault.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6

5.   That’s been my week – up, down, all around.  Tiring, taxing, emotional, challenging. But I’m still here.  On a side note, I found this mixed in with the candles at the local housewares store — chance?  Methinks not.

if it doesn't challenge you it won't change you

Amen to that!

And how was your week?  Any up, downs and all-arounds in your world these days?


Categories: Faith, Family, fear, Grief, Growth, Life, Mom, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Clan, Tribe, whatever, we need it

Thinking about a recent conversation with Hubbs, I’ve realized who my tribe is:  those whom I can speak openly with. You know the ones: the friends/colleagues/family members who do for you what you’d do for them: accept you, ask your opinion because they want to know, listen, stick up for you, check in on you and cheer loudest when you grow. Those ones.


There’s been a lot going on of late, Mom’s health is a little more stable but she has been hospitalized for several weeks and we’ve had some very close calls where we thought, “this is it.”  She came through that, thankfully, and now we’re starting to talk about next steps. She’s not strong enough to go home, at least not right now.  And that’s a tough reality to face. On a positive note, she’s bright and “with it” and knows what’s up: she’s still got a say and that’s comforting to me.

Little ones are adjusting to their Mom moving away. They’re with their Dad now, our boy, full time.   They’re adjusting but I know the whole household will have some challenges ahead.   We help where we can .. but still, this Nana’s heart is with them always.

First day of school and Daddy did her hair. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

First day of school and Daddy did her hair. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Our nephew was seriously injured in a fall, he’s healing and will be OK, and we thank God he’s young and healthy.  It was the kind of accident that could have left him permanently injured or dead and just thinking about it makes us shudder.

Still, I look around, and while my tribe isn’t big, it’s good.  It’s cozy and healthy.  And when I’m with them – Hubbs, the boys, a few good friends, certain family members, and you, dear readers, I am reminded that the only answer most of us are looking for is the knowledge that we can live in our truth and eventually things will be just fine.

speak the truth

Who’s in your tribe?  Are you able to let your tribe in when you’re struggling? 

Categories: Determination, Faith, Family, Friendship, Grief, Growth, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Restart, reset & carry on

It’s Friday! It’s Labor Day weekend! Time for 5 randoms from my week ~ here we go…

end of summer

1) Summer should be issued a speeding ticket.  I don’t know about you but our summer took it’s sweet time getting here but seems to be in a hurry to depart. We’ve had a few weeks of “nice,” a few weeks of cool, and this has been the hottest one yet.  But … with the end of summer comes the arrival of my favorite season:  Fall!  Here’s to bright sunny skies, humidity under 400%, leaves turning color, all things pumpkin and the sights and smells only Autumn can bring – yeah!

isn't Autumn glorious? an Emjayandthem (C) photo

isn’t Autumn glorious? an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2) Heard this song recently and I smiled and sang along, especially the part about “Summertime in Northern Michigan” – sing it, Kid.

3) Hubbs commented recently, “Do you realize you hardly ever talk about work any more?” My response, “No need. I’m rat-free!”   Whee – and – bonus: my shoulders no longer touch my ears!

kitty stretch neck

I do a lot of this!

4) A rainy day off and the house to myself — ooh, ahh.  What started as a “100% chance of reading” kind of day quickly morphed into a “100% chance of working” day instead.  A number of high priority requests came directly to me and responses  are needed long before my Tuesday return.  No worries, I cancelled my vacation time, brewed some more coffee, and carried on.  I’ll wrap up soon and then the weekend can begin – whoop!



5) We had friends over last night to watch College Football and one dear lady brought her world-famous homemade veggie pizza – some of that was my breakfast today.  Non traditional, yes, delicious, absolutely!

photo from Allrecipes.com

photo from Allrecipes.com


 “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”Allen Saunders


** What song makes you think of summer?  Ever had a day off hi-jacked? How did you handle it?  How’s your Labor Day forecast looking? **


Categories: Attitude, Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Where the point lies

Searching for a particular picture last week, I noticed a pattern in my photos: horizon shots.  Loads and loads of them.  The sky, usually blue, the horizon, winding.

I could never live in the woods or the mountains – one word:  claustrophobic.  As a prairie girl, the horizon is grounding to me.  Only see up? Not a chance. I need to see out.

Getting out of the city and rolling through hills, farms and fields … cathartic.  So, when life piles up on me, I go.  Tunes, coffee, road trip, gone.


Lake Diefenbaker, lake of my childhood

Deck view from Crosswinds in Whitehall, MI ... ahh

Deck view from Crosswinds in Whitehall, MI … ahh


Lake Huron .. from inside my car, way too cold to get out and stand!

Lake Huron .. from inside my car, way too cold to stand outside!

Stevie the dog and the road to home. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Stevie the dog and the road to home. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Just had to stop here and take in the view, Pure Michigan

Just had to stop here and take in the view, Pure Michigan

:: loved riding around with Dad on land like this :: And Emjayandthem (C) photo

Loved riding around with Dad on farm land like this.  And Emjayandthem (C) photo

“Why does every road eventually narrow into a point at the horizon? Because that’s where the point lies.”  Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration



Is there a pattern in the photos you’ve taken? What is it?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Life, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Don’t forget to live

So, like you, we’re busy.  Busy, busy, busy.  Work- busy. Kids-busy. Social life-busy.  One big bunch of busy buzzing bees.   And I don’t know about you, but I’m a little sick of how busy we are.  Just talking about it is getting boring.


Wah! I don’t have time …

Look around: it’s like a new badge to claim– can you multi-task, what are you missing to be here with me, what else is going on, what? What?  But what are we busy at? Being busy?

I’m not on call. But I feel like I am.  I’ve worked hard at keeping boundaries, doing the job, without being accessible 24/7.  But I still catch myself being one of those people checking emails, responding after hours, and feeling like I can’t ever get caught up. Like trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack, the volume just never … slows.

So when I feel the margins of life closing in, I push back and re-assess. Sometimes it takes nothing more than the “mental” escape  a good book can bring. Other times, more drastic action is needed.   So with that, later today, I’m signing off. Shutting down. Hopping  up into the Jeep with my brown-eyed handsome man, cranking up the tunes and headed to points north.  I’m laughing till my sides hurt, kissing my honey, and living in the moment.

vacation next exit

Road trip? Yes!


Make time in your day life for:

  1. Situations that make you laugh, including yourself
  2. People who make you smile
  3. Your favorite foods
  4. Music you want to sing along to
  5. Curling up with a book
  6. Loving on the one you love
  7. Friendship
  8. Good company and conversation
  9. Furry friends
  10. Joy


“In the midst of a busy life don’t forget to live.” ― Marty Rubin

And we might just play this game along the way:


Can you relate? When you feel your margins getting smaller, what do you adjust?


** Thanks to DM for gifting me with the “margins” reference — Now that I think of it, I always used to draw in mine. :)




Categories: Family, Growth, Home, Men, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random 5 Friday – between you and me

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts from my world.  Ready? Let’s go.

1. 90 Sunday, 70 Thursday, down in the 50s overnight.  It felt like Fall outside and winter in the office (a/c blowing!) Between you and me, if the 90s don’t come back again this year, that’s fine .. give me the sunny, dry stuff any day!

4 seasons of weather

2. It’s been a whirlwind week at work and the next few months look to be the same.  Hubbs and I scheduled a little “getaway”  starting mid next week but we’ve also discussed “hanging around the shanty” instead.  Between you and me, it wouldn’t break my heart to stay put and cool our jets.

and there it is

and there it is

3. “Met” my new boss yesterday.  Sharp, accomplished, and organized .. and in another state.  Between you and me, I like what I hear.  The person who chose him is a leader I admire: if he picked him, we’re in good hands.  Whoop!

“I won’t put “good” in front of leadership; it is or it isn’t.”Georgette Sullins   (Amen said the choir!)

4.  Mom has not been feeling the best and, between you and me,  I’m worried about her.  I know she rallied everything she had to go to my niece’s wedding; I also know how much fun we had together,  saw how big and steady her smile was, and knew she wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.  Those memories comfort me when worry spins out of control.

Mom & I watching the SK football game 3 weeks ago. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Mom and I taking a football-game watching selfie. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5.  Something I love about Facebook is that I can see snaps from my home province via a photo group.    Debbie Young took this photo of Aurora Borealis dancing over my Saskatchewan sky.    It’s so dreamy that, between you and me, just looking at it makes me a farm kid all over again.

debbie young aurora borealis saskatchewan


So, between you and me, how was your week?

Categories: Faith, Family, fear, Growth, Home, Love, Mom, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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