Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lots to see & nothing to block my view

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I’m headed home today.

To a land of living skies, golden fields, and Northern lights.


I’m headed home today.

To people who will ask, “how are you?” and actually want to know.

To butter tarts, cabbage rolls, Greek ribs and pierogies.

To temps in Celsius and the Queen’s currency.

I’m headed home today.

To Old Dutch potato chips, Pilsner beers, CBC and the CTV.

To grain reports, cattle prices, crop yields and pie at Mom’s kitchen table.

To laughs and stories and photos and many a-remember whens.

To lazy walks down a country road, a whiff of saddle soap in the tack room, and kittens at foot.

To Roughrider football parties, community suppers, and chats with teachers, Sunday School mentors and elderly aunties who’ll hug me like there’s no tomorrow. And my eyes will cloud a bit when they do.

I’m headed home today.

To the tiniest of places with a hold so strong it both anchors and frees its own to go around the world with confidence because they know there still exists a place where everyone knows their name.

I’m headed home today.


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Personal, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 33 Comments

Pulling back the curtain ..

From time to time, I find it’s meaningful to pull back the curtain and examine how I’m living my life.

Am I mindful of my efforts?

Am I discerning of who I give my time to?

Am I helpful, resourceful and kind?

Or am I gossipy, resentful and petty?

Am I using my best manners or some that are less than?

Am I working to my full ability or going through the motions?

Am I walking in faith? Am I truly living what I say I value?

Am I proud of the person I am regardless of who’s around to witness?

Will others know who I am by observing my behavior?

What matters?

Faith. Family & relationships.  Love and kindness.  The satisfaction of a job well done. Pride in my country.  Staying true to my beliefs.   Being the person I was born to be.

What’s behind your curtain?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 19 Comments

A lone wolf

Recently,  I realized something about myself that I had never acknowledged before. It’s not serious, but it’s given me insight as to why I do (or don’t do) certain things.

Which way to the bargain corner? photo credit


You see, coming from a rural upbringing, I’m used to being resourceful. Frugal you might say.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no martyr.  I like to buy things that inspire me but, of late, not much has.  I have simple tastes and have been happiest with a box of garage sale books and $.99 music downloads from

I’m not a name brand shopper.  I don’t care about the latest & greatest.  If it fits and flatters my body, I buy it.  (And I am hard to fit.)

In the past, I’ve been invited to spend the day shopping with other women at an outlet mall.   Instant panic and beads of sweat ensued.  Now I know that there are many who would enjoy this. Me?  A stick pin to the eye would be less painful.

I think it’s mostly due to my background: being the youngest of 5, shopping was a twice a year excursion that translated to a painfully long day.  By the time it was my turn to finger the goods, I didn’t care what I got.  Plaid pants and a purple bubble top?  Sure! Orange jumpsuit?  Super Duper!!  Stand around all day, starving and hoping for a diversion?  Rather have a migraine, thanks.

To this day, I avoid shopping in herds.  Why?  I’m a lone wolf shopper.

If something has worn out and needs replacing, I can get it during my lunch hour.  In, out, done.  No purse holding necessary.

Christmas shopping?  Not a problem: make a list, check it twice, research online and *poof* done.   And … buying for others? Just plain fun!

Grocery store?  No worries, mate.  Just print off my grocery list, check the items needed. In, out, done.

So…  I’ve been invited to a Miche purse party and I won’t be in town on the party date.  No problem; the hostess sent me her web link to peruse.   I feel a bit obligated to buy something because she’s a hard working gal whom I know could use the money.  Except for the fact that I do not need another purse.

I have a small collection of $5 and $7 handbags from the bargain bin at big chain stores.  I change purses with the season or … when I feel like it.  I’m a Gemini; it could be a Tuesday and I’ll declare – let’s go pink today!  Otherwise, I stick to my basic black (winter) or a linen looking in summer. That’s it.

I have never carried a $200 designer bag and I never will. Why? Because if I don’t have $200 to put in the bag, I don’t need a $200 purse.

Back to the Miche purse party.  The premise is that you buy a basic “shell” and dress it up with interchangeable covers, straps, and charms.  A moderately sized Miche purse with 2 covers and some snazzy straps prices around $120.  They are fashionable and trendy. Super cute.  I understand the concept but, for some reason, I resisted ordering.

And this weekend, it came to me why:  

Farm girls don’t have purses with wardrobes.

Does this look like a girl whose purse sports a change of clothes?

In my heart of hearts, that’s who I am.  I still am that braid-wearing, pony-riding, calf-wrangling girl who cleans up with Jirmack shampoo and some Bonne Bell lipgloss.  I still am the girl who attended Bridal showers in the United Church basement, where brides got what they got and there was no such thing as “registering” (ugh).  I am still the girl who can fix a fence, deliver a foal, drive a tractor and prepare an entire meal without ever opening a box.

I don’t enjoy shopping in herds and I don’t like spending money on “stuff” I don’t need.

I’m a farm girl and a Lone Wolf shopper.  In, out, done.

 * * *

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. – Will Rogers


Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Fun, Growth, Life, Personal, Random observations, Self Discovery, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Bouncing at the ready

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. – Unknown

image from

* * *

I’ve got a hectic week before me – lots to do here at home and at work.  Meetings, a bit of travel, and later … packing.  Yep – in a few days I am heading to the farm for some down time with Mom.

I want to check off  all that’s on my list and start this time off well-rested and at peace.  We have a few things planned but mostly? Mostly we just want to be together.  I need to be ready for anything – a last minute trip to the city, a late night playing cards, whatever.

I’d better pace myself so I can bounce!

What’s your week look like?

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 23 Comments

Sunday morning, coming down

..And there’s nothing short of dying.

That’s half as lonesome as the sound.

Of the sleepy city sidewalk,

And Sunday mornin’ coming down.

I don’t know about you, but I love Sunday mornings .. coming down.

Categories: Attitude, Joy, Men, Opinion, Share, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Human doings

I don’t know about you but sometimes I have a hard time listening.  Not to others as much as I do to my body.

We had our immediate family over on Sunday in celebration of hubb’s birthday. This consists of our oldest boy, his wife and their two little kids, our youngest son, my father-in-law, hubbs and me. It was busy and fun and quite a lot of work.  Pots boiling, dishes simmering, little kids buzzing through and stopping to help and play and giggle and charm.

About halfway through the action, I felt the teeniest pinch of something. Just a twinge … of a stomach ache. Nothing serious but certainly not  comfortable.

Hugs and smooches in the driveway and little hands waving as they drove away,  I turned to hubbs who declared, “Honey .. you’re grey!

“I know,” I said.

“You ought to just go to bed,” he declared.

But … there are toys to pickup, dishes to do, etc. etc. etc.

mashed potatoes from scratch, of course

“Shhh,” he said.  “We’ll help… and the rest? The rest can wait.”

And he was right.

So I did something I haven’t done since I was about 5th grade … I went to bed on a Sunday night before 8:00 pm  … and  slept for 11 hours. Me!! The person the family can set their watch to, down for the count.  And I was all the better for it.

Above and beyond the physical ramifications, I’ve decided I want to be more mindful of how I expend my energy.  Does it really matter that I served a buffet of hot, flavorful choices or that we all had the opportunity to sit together and enjoy ourselves?

And, one more thing, this week,  I realized I also want to be more in the moment.  In the past, I have spent so much energy looking forward to something that I zipped through it and nearly missed it when it happened.  I have been so focused on that delightful horizon – on planning, prepping, arranging and doing that I forget to make allowances for … being.

We are human beings after all (vs. human doings).


Another reminder that I am still a work in progress.  And you? How well do you listen? (to your body and yourself, that is).

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

Cruise with me, baby

Got a road trip today.

2 hours one way + meeting time where I’m going.

Highways and country roads. Through cities, farms and fields.

Fall’s arrived here in Michigan. There’s a touch of frost on the grass today.

What will I see? A peek of Autumn colors; apple stands, clotheslines and combines heading to the finish line.

Yep, I’ve got a road trip today… and I’m taking a few friends with me:  Elvis. Johnny R. Cash. Willie.  The Brothers Gibb. Huey Lewis, Tom Petty and Bob Seger.  The Supremes, Al Green and the Jackson 5 … and a whole host of others,too.

Cruise with me, baby.

Who’s your favorite to cruise to?

Categories: Attitude, Fun, Joy, music, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Throwing a Liebster to m’boys

Not Lobster, Liebster!

From the warm-hearted and generous Dianna over at These Days of Mine it’s … drumroll please… the Liebster Blog Award!! (Please hold your applause) Apparently, this award originated in Germany and ”Liebster” is a German word for friend or love (c’mere you little Liebster, you!!).  The Liebster award is meant to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. And my blog falls into that category! Scchwwwing!

However, lest you think that I’m just goofing off, there are RULES in accepting this award.  Serious rules. Ahem.  The rules are you have to follow are to: forever and a day tell everyone you know how fabulous and wonderful you think Emjayandthem is and .. ‘er.. oops wrong rules.

Here are the REAL bonafide rules:

  1. Express your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. Check!!
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. Check!!
  3. Post the award proudly on your blog. Check!!
  4. Bask in the love and adoration from the most supportive people ever -other writers. Check!!
  5. And best of all – have fun and share the love! Check!!

And so now, I give you … my favorite men bloggers:

  • Have a full day’s worth of fiber, in convenient blog form.  Rich blogs with humor and truth from America’s heartland.  I have laughed out loud more than once reading what Rich has written.
  •  Take off on a culinary adventure with Bryan, a lover of fine food.   The first post of his that I ever read was not about food, it was about how his dog sits like “Sam” the sheepdog. Hubbs and I always kid around that our dog, Frankie, is only missing one thing: Sam the Sheepdog as his partner in crime.
  •  LeRoy “Butch” Dean writes eloquently about faith, hope, love and the human condition.  He walks in faith and I often begin my day by paying his site a visit.  His eloquence and gentle nature remind me of the many layers in each and every single one of us.  He’s just happens to be brave enough to let us see “in.”
  •   Coop is clever and thoughtful, irreverent and surprising.  And never, ever … dull.
  •  Tom writes of his adventures with his Mom, what he’s learned and where they’re going ..on this journey with Alzheimer’s .. and more.

There are many meaningful and well-written blogs that I visit regularly and it was challenging to narrow the list down to just these 5.   But … my criteria I chose to use this time was: which fellows do I choose to visit, time and again?   And there they were! 🙂

So … not everyone loves blog awards, so if any of you fine folks winning this prestigious award don’t care to play along… I won’t take it personally.  But I do hope my readers will take a moment to stop in and visit you.  I know this much: I will.

And now: here’s my brand new Liebster Blog award, which I shall display with pride!

Thank you, Dianna.

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Men, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: | 22 Comments

Evolution of thought

Horseshoe canyon, Alberta; an emjayandthem photo

Character is who you are when no one’s looking.

Watch your thoughts..they become words.

Watch your words..they become actions.

Watch your actions..they become habits.

Watch your habits..they become character.

Watch your becomes your destiny!

– unknown

Categories: Attitude, Friendship, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , | 14 Comments


On a day of remembrance & deep sorrow, sometimes all we CAN do is reclaim our NORMALCY as proof that COWARDS who sneak in to attack us will NEVER take away what remains: our ability to live a FULL & FREE life.

So today, I remember, but I also celebrate Hubbs’ bday with our kids & grandkids and in-laws.

What survives? Honor, faith, hard work, patriotism and FREEDOM, BABY!!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Grief, Life, News, Thoughts | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA.
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky

Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know

Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her                                               Did you dust off that bible at home

Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun

Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watching
And turn on “I Love Lucy” reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
and thank God you had somebody to love

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran

ButI know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love.
The greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

-Recorded by Alan Jackson

Categories: Life, music, News, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Hey Now! Salsa

So .. there’s this salsa I make and it is so delicious, so stinkin’ good that my mouth waters just writing about it.

It’s that good. I promise.

photo from

Perfect for end of summer tomato abundance. But .. do-able in winter, too. Bonus!

It’s time for my Hey Now!  Salsa

Why the name?  Because it’s got just the right combo of sass and frass and tangy good-ness that’ll make your mouth pucker up and sing: HEY NOW!

Wanna make some?  Here’s what I do… First, I strongly suggest you put on some Barry White, Al Green or whomever gets your groove on. Shake your tail feathers and just have fun with it.

MJ’s Hey Now! Salsa (the Salsa .. with a ‘tude)

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 can corn, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups of  pico de gallo from your local grocery store deli OR make your own by chopping up ~ 8 Roma tomatoes, 1 red onion and adding the juice of 1 lime +  salt & pepper.
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed. *
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I like to use orange or yellow for the color contrast)
  • ½ of 1 red onion, chopped ( if you made your own Pico you can skip this step)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (I use a lot ’cause I like the stuff … your call)
  • Seasoning – a few shakes of garlic & onion powders, a bit of Mrs. Dash regular and some salt & pepper – how much?  A few shakes of each.
  • Juice from 3 to 4 fresh limes (depends on how lime-y you like it) and
  • 3/4 of a bottle of Italian Dressing

Toss all ingredients, liberally pour in the Italian dressing & squeeze in the lime juice, stirring well.    Try to keep all ingredients covered in the “juice” as this is what keeps this fresh.

*If you desire a sweeter salsa, substitute chopped mango for the avocado. Mucho delicious!

**You can add hot peppers (seeded jalapeno or serrano peppers) if you wish but I don’t – this is crunchy and tangy and everyone can enjoy it.

Serve with tortilla chips. Be sure you sample some now and shake, shake, shake .. shake your booty….   Sorry, got carried away by KC & the Sunshine Band. hee hee.

This salsa is OUT-STANDING over a fresh green salad with grilled chicken … mmmm.  My personal favorite!

I think my Hey Now! Salsa could last about 4 days in the fridge but, honestly,  I’ve never had it last more than … 2.

Go ahead … make some.  Show it off this weekend or find a closet and hoard it to yourself.  Either way … I hope you enjoy it as much as we I do.


Categories: Attitude, Food, Fun, Joy, Personal, Recipes, Share, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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