Random 5 – Congress, Mentors and Meerkats

It’s time for five random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly.

1.  I’m off to D.C. soon and last week, with the help of my Congressional office, I booked a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol.   Normally you should book these tours months in advance …  my schedule is jam-packed while I’m there.  I took a chance and found there was one spot left on the afternoon I was available. Luck or fate?   I’m going with a bit of both.  And, if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no.”  Just ask – who knows?

US.gov

Isn’t she grand?  VisittheCapitol.Gov

2. Last Thursday marked 7 years as a citizen.  7 years ago I obtained my 2nd passport and voted (here) for the first time. 7 years.  Stepping forward, with 78 other hopeful new citizens, that moment – and the memory – is still goose-bump-worthy.

That's me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.

That’s me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

3. I’ve been saying “Yes” as much as possible lately and enjoying what comes next.  Last week I received an email from a long-time hero and mentor, Pat Katz.    Pat, teen leader and champion from the 4-H days of my youth, now writer, speaker, motivator, coach, artist, and all around fabulous woman.  She made a lasting impression on a young farm girl 36+ years ago and when we reconnected on Facebook, I felt like someone gave me the key to the cool kid’s club.   She shared this quote below and encouraged me to continue saying yes – and mentioned how fun it would be to meet up the next time I’m in Saskatchewan.  I immediately said yes – I’m going home for an August wedding and we’re grabbing a coffee and a hug at the airport arrival with my sissy Pat –and I’ll have my two favorite “Pats” in the same place – how sweet is that?

“Once you make up your mind and start something… Once you commit to it, say “Yes!” and never look back.

Do you have any doubt that I won’t rush to your side?  That legions won’t be summoned? That players won’t be drawn to help, assist, and fall in love? That connections won’t be made? Circumstances won’t be crafted? Dots won’t be connected?  That the course of history won’t be irrevocably changed?

Good, I didn’t think so. 

I’d say you’re ready,”
    – The Universe

4. This past week everything “popped” at once – not just Lilacs and other plants but the trees, too.  I’m popping Claritin like candy  … but is sure is green and lush and lovely.  Spring has sprung!

100_2359

Emjayandthem(C) ‘s lilacs

5.  I don’t care who you are or where you’ve worked – we have all sat through that one long, boring meeting, speech or sermon and then …

 

What are you waiting to say “Yes” to?  What would you try if you knew there was no way you could fail?

Have a great Wednesday, Peeps!

ha!

ha!

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Elections, Faith, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Relationships, Vote, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lessons in disguise

Yesterday my day started as it often does ~ emails at home, coffee on the run, breakfast at my desk.  I had my day planned and a good sense of what was on deck for the balance of my week when it happened — a call suggesting Thursday’s meeting be moved up two days.  To yesterday.  To 2 hours from that phone call.

Looking at my “to-do’s” and schedule, my first thought was to say no and find a way to keep it to Thursday.  Then, I thought about just saying yes.   No: I wasn’t in a suit or dress, but I was in office attire, and with the cold wind blowing I’d be wearing my overcoat anyways.  Yes: moving up the meeting worked better for the rest of my week because I’m hoping to take Friday off.  Not having to be in meetings and on the road most of Thursday would support that. Another yes.  And then a nudge, “just do it.” And so I did.

And had I not done that I wouldn’t have had a chance meeting on the street (in my overcoat) with a State official whose office I’ve been aiding.  I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet her staff who then sang my praises to the official.    Happenstance? Hmm.

Smiling as I arrived back into town, I pulled into the parking lot at the mall.

I hate the mall. Not the building, the experience. I’m short, curvy and hard to fit.  Generally speaking, the mall isn’t the happy place it was when I was a lanky teenager.

This morning, my arms ache from the clothes I carried out of the dressing room.  Clothes on sale. Clothes that fit and flatter me.   Coincidence? Hmm.

I don’t know about you but sometimes life lessons don’t appear on large blinking billboards.  Sometimes they arrive disguised as ordinary moments that beg a closer look.

Coincidence-Fate

And remember, friends, “Normal is just a setting on your washing machine” ~Whoopi Goldberg.

What have you said “yes” to lately?

 

Categories: Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

On value, growth and being seen

So I’ve written a bit about a women’s workshop I was off to this weekend; it took place yesterday at a beautiful old inn on the other side of the state.  And to me, when you’ve not been to most places around you, part of the adventure is in the getting there.

A few weeks ago, as I knew he might, Hubbs pushed back on my attending.   Nothing serious, just in that way he does, a steady stream of questions about who-what-where-when-and why.  His Virgo-iffic nature of over-analyzing everything and thinking the worst kicked in (surely someone will kidnap me and I’ll end up dead).   No, seriously, that’s how he thinks sometimes.  Especially when it involves someone he loves.  Here’s the extent of the threats along my route:

amish mcdonalds

Anna sat in the carriage while Abe went inside. Me?  200% Safe!

I arrived at our destination, hugged my friend the Life Coach and met the other lovelies in attendance.  I ran into Sara again – someone I knew once years ago – and she with the happy curls and a smile that fills her face all the way up to her eyes – was absolutely delicious.

I think we were all nervous, I know I was, but soon we settled in and a relaxed camaraderie emerged.   As the workshop began we took turns listening.  Looking around I wondered if just having that moment wasn’t reward enough for being there.  Being heard is a powerful feeling.  Being seen is another.

One woman spoke to what we’ve all experienced ~ the cattiness of other women.. and her fears about attending: would we be any different?  Could we be trusted?   She spoke of her losses and her triumphs and how those experiences had prepared her to be exactly where she was right now … and we found ourselves nodding in agreement. Church was in session and I was in the front pew!

Some trembled when their turn to talk came around.  Bear in mind that many of us work in corporate roles where public speaking is part of what we do. Easy-peasy-pudding-and-pie.  But choosing to speak about deeply personal things can render the most accomplished woman speechless.  Some were at a crossroads – – marriages ending, careers stalled, children moving on.  Life stretching out ahead like one big highway but what now, what would it look like and just where to start?  I found myself listening to a sad-eyed woman who spoke haltingly of  her profession and the toll it was taking on her.  Quietly I shared background on Meyers-Briggs personality tests and our group encouraged her to not just look for a job change but for what will make her soul sing.  Her smile back to us was a gift.

Across from me sat Diane, a bubbly and energetic woman with very expressive hands – she patiently listened to everyone but when I asked her our table’s question: “what are you naturally good at” her eyes firmly met mine and she confidently said, “I’m very creative.”  When women speak their truth, have you ever noticed body language shifts and they lean into the answer? I l-o-v-e that.

I had several “aha’s” that come when your spirit is open and your soul is in a sacred space.  And on my drive back home, I smiled at the answer I had given Hubbs as I reassured him no one was going to kidnap me and I wasn’t going to die: I can die on the couch.  Life is meant to be lived and I’m going for it!

 

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” ― M. Scott Peck,  The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth

 

What’s the last thing you did just for you?  If you have to think about it … it’s time.

Related:

 

 

Categories: Determination, Faith, fear, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random 5-15 Friday

It’s Friday! It’s time for five random thoughts and happenings from my week! Here we go:

1.  Does anyone else remember when Teachers smoked in the Teacher’s Lounge?  I do.  I remember Mrs. Campbell and Mr. Luke heading in and the noise and the smoke billowing out.  Oh, the things we recall from our childhood!

madmen-smoke

Wouldn’t be surprised that there were cocktails in there, too.

2. Earlier this week, I wrote about saying “yes.”  I realized that my efforts to clear emotional clutter had created space I’d yet to fill.  After writing that post, I headed out to my day.  The power of YES was immediately in play because I had two (planned) meetings + a surprise one (added-on, last-minute) – and from those came the following:  1) better rapport, 2) positive feedback, 3) forward movement AND two speaking requests, right up my alley.   My women’s workshop is tomorrow and yes, I am this happy about it!

get-your-happy-on-quote-13.  A couple of Friday’s ago I had a scheduled day off. I was home, yes, but I didn’t get the day off.  Instead I worked all day putting out someone else’s fires (grr) while my “to-dos” languished.  So I’m off today and my to-dos” are staring at me like a cat wanting back inside.  It’s cold, it’s raining, and my accomplishments may very well include a nap.  Ahh.

google.images.com

4.  I had a sad and confusing morning a few days ago ~ I came down to the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. and stared in disbelief at the coffee pot. The empty coffee pot.  Do you ever stare at something thinking that what you’re seeing can’t be right … so you just keep looking at it thinking the picture will change?  I must have been too tired the night before to set up the coffee maker.  Those seven minutes till a cup was ready? Snaggletooth!

coffee cat

5.  But with all that, and a busy weekend ahead, it’s Friday!  As the weekend nears I’m gonna join Mr. Luke in the conga line and dance my way to the weekend!

mad men conga line

Teacher’s Lounge on Friday afternoons …

*Mr. Luke was my high school French teacher. He was tall, British, affable and reeked of booze cologne!

All images from Google.

Happy Friday!  Did your teachers smoke in the Teacher’s Lounge?  What have you stared at in disbelief?  Did it change the picture?

Categories: Attitude, Fun, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

On saying Yes

I’ve been thinking a lot about a workshop coming up this weekend — a women’s retreat, so-to-speak, and time away to be with like-minded individuals in a supportive, creative environment.

Thinking about the questions posed to us ahead of time (loosely translated): 1) what’s the greatest risk you ever took and how did it turn out? 2) How do you define passion? and 3) What’s your big “Super Hero” dream – i.e. what does “next” look like?

girl-with-arms-open-wide-to-the-sky

google.images.com

The first two were easy to answer: 1) moving to another country with $178 and a guitar .. and here I am, a successful citizen.  2) It’s all that I am and what I can’t ever leave behind – it’s me doing the right thing regardless if anyone’s around to witness it – it’s music and love, family and relationships, hard work, silliness and stability. But #3.  3 has me thinking .. a lot.

On the treadmill last night, I had an epiphany (treadmill walking will do that to you … you can’t do much else, at least I can’t.) I can’t read or watch TV, pretty sure I’d fall off, but I digress.

I thought about how I gave oldest boy some of my sage advice last week on the power of saying “no.”  And, a direct quote was, “No. It’s a sentence.”  He used it and, by golly, it worked and here we are.

And I realized, at a 3.4 mph speed, that the past 5 years I’ve worked hard at saying no.  No without guilt. No without noise.  One word: “No.”

Saying no has opened up room for “Yes.”  And I’ve done a little of that … but last night I realized I already had my answer to #3 above.

I’m saying “Yes.”

Yes to adventures and events, to meeting new people who inspire and get me, yes to delight and wonder and learning and growth.  Yes to noise and yes to quiet.  Yes to order and yes to messy. Yes to love and comfort, joy and happiness.

I’m saying Yes.

“Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” -Tina Fey

What do you really want to say yes to? Have you made room for it in your life?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Home, music, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Mother’s Day

It’s Friday! Time for 5 Random thoughts this Mother’s Day weekend.

1. “A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review.” ~Robert Brault.  One year ago today I was on a plane to see her.  Oh what a grand time we had!   This year, I sent her a huge floral arrangement because we will see each other soon but still …  I miss her. <3

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. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

2.  Mom taught me a lot, but in spite of her efforts, there were some lessons that didn’t stick: I can’t sew, I hate gardening and I never mastered her bread recipe.   Here are the ones that did: sharing a meal lovingly prepared, the joy in make-believe play on stormy days, that books can take you anywhere and to laugh at myself. (Remember her story of “I’m Gay?”)

Mom loves music and always has the radio playing in her country kitchen, and I do the same.  She taught me the importance of date nights, of a dab of perfume and a swirly skirt and jewelry that makes you feel like a girl. Mom loved me enough to let me go yet never failed to rally and cheer, “You can do it, kid!”

3.   When I think about how much I love my boys, I understand how much she loves me.  And I think that when you’ve been loved .. you can love.

Me & my Hooligans at my U.S. Citizenship party.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Me & my Hooligans at my U.S. Citizenship party.
An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4.  Some of my best times with Mom have been when it’s just the two of us; we’re up late, and the house is quiet and the conversation flows.  She’s told me things about herself and her life’s adventures that none of the other kids know. Someday I might tell them, or, maybe not.  Maybe in those moments we were just two really good friends hanging out – laughing, crying, looking back, being grateful.   Those moments are sacred to me.

Nameless moments

5. Tomorrow, our boys are taking us out for supper.   We’ll go to our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, take over a big table and enjoy someone else’s cooking.  We’re going on Saturday to skip the Sunday crowds; they’re logical like that.   There’s the promise of homemade cards and lots and lots of laughter.  I will love it and am looking forward to it.  Sunday I’ll be in my kitchen again – cooking, singing, and … on the phone with Mom.

motherhood

In everything I’ve ever accomplished and all that I’ve ever experienced, I’ve had one tiny but mighty powerhouse behind me: my Mother.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms! <3

Question:  When you think of your Mom, what three words could describe her best?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Family, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, Mom, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Coffee cups and personalities

I remember my very first cup of coffee ~ my cousin and I were at the local town Hall, and the Kool-Aid was all gone so we opted for some coffee. I thought it was gross, until she taught me how to make “kid coffee” – sugar, more sugar and copious amounts of cream.   Pretty sure we raced around that hall with our hair on fire after that.

As I grew up, I ditched the sugar and cream and switched to 2% milk.

Putting away Hubbs’ and my favored coffee cups this weekend, I just had to laugh.

I’ve written about this before, how we use the same 4-6 cups but have 20 in the cupboard.  Anyways … his are large and strong, robust and hearty.  Mine could be described as petite and sturdy, practical and feminine.  His favorite says, in bold capital letters, “FOX NEWS” while mine has kitties, flowers and butterflies.  Like there was any doubt whose is whose.

Those cups reflect our partnership and our personalities.

Our boys often say that they always know where they stand with us – we both paint a clear picture, although our methodologies are different.    We both are strategic and forward-thinking, but one is competitive while the other is contemplative.

They’ve nicknamed Dad “Clint” and me “Kitty.” (that 70s show)

clint-eastwood-21

Go ahead … drink my coffee. Google.images.com

kitty-forman

What do your coffee (or tea) cups say about you?  What makes one a favorite over another?  And why do we keep so many anyways?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, Men, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Spring at last!

Spring appears to be here to stay finally (yay!) and my yard is calling me.  With that, here are my Random 5 from this week:

1.  This year, I solemnly swear, to not get overly ambitious in the garden section and to not plant annuals that I’ll only grow weary of watering come August.  Amen. But first, I have a date with the 10 Trillion weeds growing happily outside!

24763462-home-improvement-store-garden-section

I promise to stop when one cart is full! Google.images.com

2. At the family brunch/lunch on Sunday, cousin Jerry  shyly gifted me with a sample of his home-made maple cream.  Imagine fresh maple syrup whipped into cream.  Imagine a small dollop of it in your morning oatmeal.  Imagine the smile your face :).  Yes, it’s that good.

Yep.  Google.images.com

Yep. Google.images.com

3. Read a fascinating article about forgiveness.  One section resonated so loudly with me I felt my ears ringing as I read it: The people you can’t forgive give you a gift you do not want.  The author explained that the people you won’t forgive give your ego a feeling of control over the relationship but then (here’s the kick, you ready?) you’re burdened with the anger and sadness that comes with carrying that. Ouch and yes, so true. To read the full article click here.

forgiveness heart

With some, it’s easy. With others, it’s a daily struggle. Google.images.com

4.  I love popcorn.  Love it.  You could cover an entire table in candy and chocolates and I’d walk right past them all and stop at the popcorn.   I have talked myself out going to the movies when I realized I was only going for the popcorn!

Totally done this. Google.images.com

Yes! Google.images.com

5. Yesterday I took a road trip to points north. As I often do, I used the lunch break to listen to voice mails left on my office phone while away.  Not sure what happened but somehow I must have pressed the option that speeds up delivery of the voice mail message.  Now, everyone sounds like a chipmunk.  Yes, it’s difficult to get the phone # or understand the message but, I have to admit, replaying a message from a State official who now sounds like “Alvin,” cracked me up!  :)

Did you call me?  Google.images.com

Did you call me? Google.images.com

What are in your Random 5 for this week?  Do you have to limit yourself in the Garden section, too?  Who do you struggle to forgive? Do you love sweets or salty snacks?  Ever messed up your voice mail system or other technology?

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Forgiveness, Growth, Home, Life, Opinion, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A glimpse of Heaven

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in West Michigan ~ crisp, bright and I’m enjoying the sounds of morning songbirds  … and lawnmowers.

Soon I’m off to brunch with Hubbs’ family – aunties, uncles, cousins, second cousins, in-laws, and outlaws (ha!).  Some I’ve known for years, others I’ve never met before.  One I introduced you to here.

Hubbs is off golfing so he’ll go next time.  That’s something I love about this family – they pull me in and count me as one of their own.  And, living so far from my kin, it’s lovely to feel part of another’s.

a glimpse of heaven

Google.images.com

What are you up to today?

 

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ TV dinners, road trips, community and common sense

Random Five Friday pic

It’s Friday and here are 5 random happenings and thoughts from this week:

1.  Hubbs and I talked about this a couple of days ago but who else remembers when TV dinners were good and something to look forward to?   I remember, on special occasions, Mom coming home from town with some of these.  Our excitement was palpable as we placed our foil trays into the oven and, later, peeled back the cover and attacked the fried chicken, potatoes, vegetables and little apple or cherry dessert.  It was even better if Mom and Dad were going out for the night and my cousin and I had an Elvis movie coming on at 8!   Haven’t had one of these in 35 years but I still smile at the memory.

tv dinner

Oh yes!

2.  Road trip Wednesday crossing three counties and at least 3 weather bands.  Several times I drove through freezing rain or flurries.  On my way to my last appointment, I rounded the bend on a country road, and spotted something odd.  It took me a few moments to realize what I was looking at: newly shorn sheep shivering in the snow.  (Say that seven times – ha!)

sheep-thumb

Dude! It’s way too early for us to be naked!! Google.images.com

3.  Stopping for gas yesterday morning, an older gentleman was filling his van up just ahead of me.  As the wind blew my hair sideways I looked up, his eyes met mine, I smiled and commented, “So much for Spring, hey?”  He laughed and replied, “I know, we just got home from Florida yesterday, and I told the wife next time we’re staying there!”  He chatted a bit more about their trip there and the snow on the ground at his home here and what a crazy year it’s been weather-wise.  He paid his tab, wished me a good day, and off he went.  And as I left the gas station, there he was at the next intersection, giving me a hearty wave good-bye.  I smiled, waved back, and gave thanks for living in a place where weather is always a safe topic and more people than not are friendly and nice.

4.  I’ve been out of the office a lot lately and something I’ve had reinforced again is a simple rule of business etiquette.  When I’m away, I put the “out of office” message on ~ I let internal employees know how to reach me and my team and external contacts know I am away until X time or date.  I do the same with voice mail.  This helps manage the influx of requests, keeps inquiries and tasks moving, and lessens the “Hi it’s so and so; call me back please” messages — simple, effective, and irritating when others don’t do it, too.   Yes I know we live in a 24/7 society and instant everything but there are times I’m in meetings or out of range.  I’m not a Fireman and managing expectations has become as important as meeting deadlines.

out-of-office

5.  Saw this recently and laughed out loud.  I’m pretty sure our dog Frankie would have answered to these names, too!

stop that dog

Do you remember having TV dinners on special occasions as a kid?  What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a recent road trip?  Does it make you happy when random people comment on the weather to you?  What rules of business etiquette work for – or annoy – you?  And what other names do your pets answer to?

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Random, Seasons, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Waiting for the Karma Truck

thoughts on the spaces in between

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

My Journey as a Writer

Grit & Honey

A Life Well Fed.

Live & Learn

David Kanigan

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Gracefully Aging - With Resistance

hunting for bliss

"Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real."

Flamidwyfe's Blog

Midwifing women all over the world!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Care Packages for U.S. Troops, Veterans, New Recruits, Wounded Warriors and Military Children

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time...Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway!

Holy Ghost Bumps

...For when I am weak, then I am STRONG. 2 Corinthians 12:10

She's a Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

security is for cadavers

"One can attain a high degree of security in a prison cell if that's all he wants out of life." - Dwight Eisenhower

Stevil

Death Before Sour Mix

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

reinventing the event horizon

(notes from the edge)

FiftyFourandAHalf

More than just another wiseass

Iced Tea with Lemon's Blog

Random Thoughts by Karen

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

A prairie woman choosing to enjoy each season, in weather and in life

Undercover Surfer

...random thoughts and images overflowing from my brain

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

Georgette Sullins's Blog

My view of the cow parade

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

These are Days

...you'll remember

Writingfeemail's Blog

Random observations on writing and life

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

rich ripley

WILL WORK FOR FOOD. . . .

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 921 other followers