Summer Snapshots

If you captured your summer in snapshots what would it look like?

Here are a few from my summer:

1. My “Hey Now!” Salsa …by the trough.

photo from healt-fitness.au  (This has never lasted long enough for me to capture it on camera)

photo from healt-fitness.au (This has never lasted long enough for me to capture it on camera)

2.  Rainy day naps.

google.images.com

google.images.com

3.  Date nights on patios.

Kitten heels and swirly skirts. google images.com

Kitten heels and swirly skirts. google images.com

4. Time out with wee ones.

Heading to the Zoo with my MJ.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Heading to the Zoo with my MJ. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5. Road trips with stops in new-to-me places.

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

Deck view from Crosswinds restaurant in Whitehall, MI … ahh

6.  Fresh sweet cherries by the handful.

photo courtesy of Robinette's Apple Haus

photo courtesy of Robinette’s Apple Haus

7.  And laughter.

ha ha!  Google.images.com

ha ha! Google.images.com

What snapshots represent your summer?  

 

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Random, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hard decisions

Thinking back to the summers of my youth, I remember the “hard” decisions we  faced:

1) Weed now or after swimming?  (Now! Get it over with)

2)  Sleep in the tent or in the house?  (Always the tent)

3)  Take a ride bareback or saddle up? (Depended on the terrain and which horse I was on)

4)  Go to town with Dad? (Always, because if you went with the Candy Man, candy soon followed)

5) Do chores for Grandma and earn $$ for the fair?  (Sign me up! I loved her and the fair!)

How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?  Some days I still am that pig-tailed girl ready to saddle up my pony for another adventure.   It’s summer that takes me back there.

This is about how old I feel today  (( me in gr 4  )); an emjayandthem photo

(( me in gr 4 )) ; an Emjayandthem photo

And lastly … summer should always bring some of the following to us:

Remember?

Remember?  Google.images

When you remember your summers, what “hard” decisions come to mind?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Random, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

A Summer Saturday

Here we are at Saturday and, wow, what a week! I had Monday off, and that was a treat, but it was time with new friends and some new work experiences that made my week great. And our weather here is perfect!  Who can ask for anything more? Not me.

A couple of random thoughts this morning:

1.  The grand-kids are coming today!  Oldest boy and the kids + Grandpa and some other cousins and kids are coming over to swim and grill out.   Hubbs teases that I’ve made enough food for 40 but my intentions are clear: not cooking tomorrow :).

The pool's ready for all those kiddos!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

The pool’s ready for all those kiddos! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

2. The songbirds are singing brightly this morning … and I saw my first Hummingbird of the summer last night.  I still wonder how such tiny birds migrate – amazing!

3.  Did I mention the grand kids are coming today?  :)

The Grandkids just recently - An Emjayandthem (C) photo

The Grandkids just recently – An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3. Little MJ had to endure 5 stitches after an accidental bonk on the head recently.  I hope she packs her “Doc McStuffins” Doctor kit with her today.  Last time she and I played with it, I ended up with 8 shots and 5 band-aids.  But her kisses made Nana’s pretend “injury” all better.  I hope to do the same for her real one.

Doc McStuffins MJ - An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Doc McStuffins MJ – An Emjayandthem (C) photo

4. I had lunch with Lynette’s cousin Wednesday – and we had a wonderful time.  Even if the food hadn’t been good and our conversation so easy, who could argue with a view like this?  Ahh – Summer in Michigan – you just can’t beat it.

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

Deck view from Crosswinds restaurant in Whitehall, MI … ahh

5.  Lastly … saw this video this week and immediately thought of my blogging buddy Dianna over at “These Days of Mine.”  She often has deer in her yard and I know she will love this clip!

Happy Saturday, peeps!   Whatcha up to today?

Categories: Blogging, Family, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Personal, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

The story continues

Nearly a year ago, a good friend passed away.  But her story doesn’t end there.

You see, through her friendship and the support group we formed at her diagnosis, new friends have come into my life.  And stayed.

Now I’m so glad I had made room in my friendship cupboard  - long before she passed I had Lysol-ed the energy vampires away and made room for some battery chargers.  But I hadn’t yet filled it.  Something told me to wait.

And, because of her, I met them – fabulous, smart, accomplished women with friendship and love to share. No snarping. No jealousies. Just people who love you and lift you up. People just like her.

We could have all just met last summer and had our laughs through the fall and cried together at her funeral and went our separate ways, and yes, there were some who did.  But there are more who felt the void and looked around at other marvelous people left standing and thought – as I did – “I wonder.” And it’s in the re-connecting now, the laughter now, the telling of her stories now, that she lives on.  In us.  And that brown-eyed girl, man, she would have loved this.

Have you ever made a new friend in an unorthodox way?  What has another’s death taught you about living?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Grief, Growth, Joy, music, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random Five Friday on the 4th of July

It’s Friday! It’s Random! It’s the Fourth of July!

Here we go :)

1.  When I was a little girl, my sisters and I loved to sing and rhyme and make up stories.  There was something about the rhythm and the repetition that was soothing.  One that came to mind recently is this one:

“I asked my mother for 50 cents, to see the elephant jump the fence, he jumped so high he touched the sky and didn’t come back till the fourth of July!”

google.images.com

google.images.com

I remembered that rhyme because today is my sister’s birthday.  Growing up in Canada, I was fully aware of what the “Fourth of July” stood for and thought it was neat she had a rhyme about an important date that she could claim as her own.  The only one even close to me or my name was “Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” and I didn’t like gardening, much less pulling weeds.  How’s that for contrary? :)

2. This is my 6th Independence Day as a Citizen.   And it’s still just as awesome as the first one.

That's me, holding the flag, during my swearing in ceremony; An Emjayandthem (C) photo

That’s me, holding the flag, during my swearing in ceremony; An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3. For the first time, we’re not hosting a get-together today.  Hubbs is golfing, youngest is snoozing and me? I’m enjoying a quiet morning before heading to the pool with my cherries – yeah! I’ll take my books and my tunes and my cooler full of fruit and enjoy a beautiful day in – and out – of the pool.  Later on, sun-kissed and relaxed, Hubbs and I will step out with friends for dinner and drinks and let someone else clean up and I’m not complaining!

4. After a ferocious thunderstorm Tuesday night, the temps cooled, the humidity fell and we’ve enjoyed 3 – count ‘em 3 – days of windows open, a/c off, and cool breezy summer days.  Ahh … this takes me back to the summers of my childhood.  The sun was warm, the air was mild, and you could always count on an evening breeze to settle things down.  That’s when the Northern Lights would appear and dance across our skies like faeries in flight.  I remember leaving the tent and running across the lawn, laughing and twirling under the lights above.   Ahh..

image from canada-maps.org

Northern Lights image from canada-maps.org

5.    I hope that wherever my words find you today, whether you’re American or not, you join us in celebrating her birthday. I hope you take a moment to step outside and look up at the sky – our brilliant shared sky – and I hope that, just like me, you can do so without fear.

God Bless America!

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, fear, Holidays, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Personal, Random, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Sounds in the night

The other night, a ferocious thunderstorm woke me up.  Rain lashed the house and thunder rumbled around us. I sat up immediately and it took me some time to get settled again.

It was what I didn’t hear that grabbed my attention.

No scuffling.  No nails on hardwood.  No sighing and licking of lips near my head.

You see, there is no longer an old dog leaning in, asking in his own sweet way to maybe-possibly-I’d-just-love-you-forever-if-I-could-join-you-in-that-bed kind of way.

When he was a tyke, he’d bound up the stairs and launch himself onto his bed of choice.

As he got older, he learned the boys’ beds were fair game but ours was a permission-only zone.

As he got even older still, he’d plod up the stairs and deposit himself next to my head, sigh, and lick his lips.

And in the flash of lightning I’d see his sweet old eyes staring back and me and I’d hug his neck and we’d gently lift his 68 lb arthritic self up onto our Queen bed, smoothing out a spot just for him.

And in the rumbling summer storm sounds that followed,  the one that lingers with me still was his sweet sigh of contentment.

Oh how I miss that old fellow.

Me and my bear. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Me and my Frankie bear. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

 

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go to where they went.” Will Rogers

 

 

 

Categories: Animals, Family, Grief, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Random Five Thursday

Today’s my Friday! I’m taking tomorrow off work and with many things going on, I woke up early this morning ready to jump-start the day. With that .. here we go:

1.  Took a road trip yesterday to points south. What did I see a lot of?  Road construction, tourists and county sheriffs.  I counted not one, not two but at least 6 vehicles pulled over in a 7 mile span.  Naive me, I didn’t recall seeing anyone speeding … Hubbs filled me in that the route I was on is known for drug smugglers and undocumented workers coming to MI to pick summer crops.    Sometimes I really still am just a farm girl out in the world!  :)

2.  At yesterday’s meeting, there were a lot of good ideas shared and alliances formed. But the highlight was meeting a most important task force member ~ Layla, the office dog.  Silky soft fur and eyes that could melt butter greeted me after the meeting and as I petted her,  I told her young owner that we had to put our old dog down.  “Aww I’m so sorry,” he said. I smiled and told him that “as hard as that is, and it’s been nearly a year, any day I get to pet someone else’s beloved dog is a really good day, thank you.”  And with that, a bond was formed that couldn’t have happened at a conference table.

3.  Found this picture recently and it seems not that long ago that youngest boy, who now towers past me by a foot +, would wrap his legs around me as I held him.  He’s still got those grasshopper legs!

Summer 1996; crossing Lake Diefenbaker, SK Canada on the Riverhurst Ferry.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Summer 1996; crossing Lake Diefenbaker, SK Canada on the Riverhurst Ferry. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

4.  Sometimes I just can’t take watching TV news — it’s depressing.  Yes I stay up on current affairs, but lately, I’ve found myself retreating into reruns of shows from a gentler time.  Just the other night I watched “The Brady Girls get married.” My cousin and I talked about this shift happening in both of us and she confided to a recent binge of  “The Waltons.”   I admitted to watching them, too and we both agreed that, for all her haughtiness, Corbeth Godsey was a minx.   Ike Godsey had it made in the shade!

Oh Corabeth! Image from The Today show.com

Oh Corabeth! Image from The Today show.com

5. Lastly, a friend reminded me that yesterday marked 6 months till Christmas.  In response, I sent her this photo, taken on the lake we lived at every summer:

image from Lake Diefenbaker Tourism.ca

image from Lake Diefenbaker Tourism.ca

What TV shows remind you of your childhood?  What image to you says “Summer is here!”

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Waiting

It’s official.  Summer’s here – just check the calendar!  :)

Our pool is still cool, but our days are warming and summer, summer has returned.

cropped-100_2405.jpg

cherries at the pool .. can’t wait!

The farmer’s market is open, cherries will soon be ready for picking at the Orchard up the road and me, I’m hungry for corn-on-the-cob.

photo courtesy of Robinette's Apple Haus

photo courtesy of Robinette’s Apple Haus

I had a birthday Saturday.   It was a fun day spent answering the phone, opening cards and gifts, reading texts, laughing through Facebook posts ~  you name it ~ I felt spoiled and loved and had a wonderful time.   The festivities continue this week with lunch dates with friends & even more laughter.

When I was a girl, my birthday landed at the end of the school year so my party = summer. That usually translated to us kids running through the sprinkler, sipping an orange float, and enjoying a burnt hot dog with family and friends.

Summer makes me a little more carefree and a little less scheduled. In Summer I’m more likely to wear a skirt that twirls and a pair of kitten heels.

In Summer I let my natural curls air dry and wear the dangling earrings  – the ones that pick up the green in my eyes and set off a sun-kissed glow.

cannot fight the curls in summer so why bother?  an Emjayandthem (C) photo

cannot fight the curls in summer so why bother? an Emjayandthem (C) photo

In Summer I’m more likely to get up early and stay up late, watching the stars dance in that forever sky.

Ah …. Summer.

Thank you for coming back to us again.   :)

google.images

google.images

 What’s your favorite thing about summer?

Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Joy, Personal, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Random Five Friday – Facts

Random Five Friday is here again, even though I’ve only been back in town 2 days. Feels weird that it’s Friday but hey ~ I’ll take it.

Here we go!

1.  Attended a departmental conference with colleagues in Denver earlier this week. Unlike past meetings, where various experts and executives spoke at us for two days, this one was extremely interactive.  All of us completed the MBTI assessment ahead of time and we had one full day of breakouts to learn about each indicator before getting our results.   Now, I’ve taken this before, in fact it was this assessment, taken in a three-day conference, that prompted our move to Michigan.  Read more at When you know for sure.   Re the training, there were some who embraced it, some who quietly tolerated it, some who pooh-poohed it and others who rolled with it.  I’ll let you guess which one I was :).

2.  Landing in Denver and stepping outside was like walking into a furnace. Hot, billowing dry air and all-encompassing.  No humidity. None.   I felt my eyes crinkle to raisins and slugged down more water than ever.  My normally hair-that-shall-not-be-tamed decided to lie down in protest.   Weird.

3. I’ve mentioned before that our company is going through a lot of organizational and structural changes.   Tuesday night, I found myself in a deep conversation with a colleague, someone I don’t know well and rarely see, but someone I’ve long admired for his gentle dignity and the steady way he conducts himself.  We started chatting about the changes and something led me to ask about his situation, suspecting he’s not likely to have a job in a year. Shyly he told me a bit about other ventures he’s involved in and, as I listened, I watched as his face lit up. The more he talked about having more time with his wife and children, the more animated he became. I felt a nudge to tell him our story, about taking this same class so many years ago and how that exercise created a foundational shift change for us.   As I talked about our course correction, and being led by faith, I felt myself growing more animated, too.  We were soon called to dinner but not before he said, “You don’t know how much I needed to hear what you had to say, thank you.”

4. Re the personality types, my results were not a surprise to me:  ISTJ.  Here’s the description:

Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Highly capable and decides logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

I'm Joe Friday!  Google.images.com

I’m Joe Friday! Google.images.com

I did have several “aha’s” however – I understand now why my trip “home” was so exhausting. I’m a “situational extrovert” – I can chat it up with family or be on “stage” at a meeting, etc. but I cannot do so without a price. There are a lot of extroverts in my family and, after being with them a week, I lost my voice. Makes me understand why I crave my quiet Sundays at home. Ding! Ding! Ding!

The other important takeaway was the opportunity to understand the other types on my team and across our department.  There emerged some clear leaders and big-picture thinkers, the “do-ers” and the diplomats and so on.  The most profound affirmation was learning that the person I report to is my polar opposite: it’s no wonder we struggle communicating.  I come at a task with facts, strategy, and a plan; I crave order, quiet and structure. He shows up late, with no idea what’s coming at us or what’s needed to get it done, bucks the plan, laughs at to-do lists and thinks out-loud in a steady stream of consciousness.   Please pray for me.

5.  It’s good to be home where it’s 74F and 9,000% humidity.  Say what you want about higher temps, it feels hotter here!

And with that, I give you this door sign. Funny stuff.

funny stuff.  Google.images.com

funny stuff. Google.images.com

Do you know your MBTI type? Does it ring true for you?  Happy Friday, peeps!

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Useful Information, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

All it takes is one

daughters

My Dad was a man who stashed cookies in his coat pocket and peppermints in his truck. Dad taught me where to find Saskatoon berries, to love animals and respect the land, to be fearless, drive a stick shift, read the sky, and to dance while standing on his shoes.

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

:: loved riding around with Dad :: And Emjayandthem (C) photo

He taught me real men cry, adore their wives, tickle their children, and are playful, gentle & loyal.

That's me on Dad's lap at a family picnic.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

That’s me on Dad’s lap at a family picnic. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

My Dad was a man of few words .. his actions spoke volumes.  He showed up!

Dad made cleaning out the barn fun!  an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Dad made cleaning out the barn fun! an Emjayandthem (C) photo

So grateful for the memories of a kind & loving Dad. ~ Happy Father’s Day in Heaven.

genuine love

Related:

Off to the mile-high city tomorrow; have a great week, peeps, and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Men, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

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