Monthly Archives: October 2011

Black cats and bats and ghosts …

It’s time for some Halloween Treats!

Have a SPOOK-tacular day 🙂

Categories: Family, Fun, Holidays, Humor | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

A reminder

Just this morning, a singer I’ve never heard of sang a song I’ve never sung.

She passed along a message that my heart longed to hear:   He is with you.

Categories: Faith, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Love, music | Tags: , | 16 Comments

Goofballs & Billy Boy

Halloween parties meant a costume parade through the entire school! (My grade school ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

When I was a little girl, Halloween was a very exciting time. We had a class  party and costume parade to look forward to, yummy treats to enjoy, games to play and of course …“Trick or Treating.”

Living on a farm eight miles from town, “Trick or Treating” involved 2 absolutes: cold weather and a car.  Mom and Aunt Irene helped us make our costumes and we often recycle pieces of from older costumes into something new. After supper, we’d pile into one of their cars and head out for the night.  This involved a total of five – count ‘em – five farms to visit:  The Lee home (neighbors), Uncle Harley & Aunt Maxine’s, Grandma and Grandpa’s, Aunt Irene & Uncle Jarl’s and ours.   So, depending on who was driving, we’d start at one and end at the others with three stops in between.   It was expected that we’d “sing for our supper” – sing a song, tell a joke or do something entertaining. Our song of choice was always, “Billy Boy” (Oh where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy boy .. Oh where have you been, charming Billy..) because 1) we knew the words, 2) they knew the words and 3) it always seemed to bring the best results.

I still love Halloween! Me & the Hubbs had a lot of fun with this costume.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Bear in mind that very few treats were “boughten” at that time – most offered us a home-made treat.  ((and trust me, this was the good stuff!!))   Norma and Roy Lee always gave us pop – our choice – orange or root beer – and a small bag of home-made cookies or fudge. Yum!  Aunt Irene was known for her caramel apples; Granny Smiths smothered in a thick layer of buttery rich caramel… mmm.  Aunt Maxine was crafty and loved to carve massive jack-o-lanterns to delight us… and her chocolate fudge was delicious as well.   Grandma made each of us our very own candy bag filled to the top with home-made popcorn balls and cookies mixed in with a few store bought treats – black licorice, toffee, and Old Dutch potato chips.  Smiling shyly, Grandpa always slipped in a can of pop and two bits (a quarter) and we felt oh so rich.  Our pillowcases were filled with to the brim with treats and good wishes.  After much admiration of the genius of our costumes and our profound musical talents, off we’d go to the next farm, darting through the biting October wind, wondering at the sky and trying to spot the witches we just knew were flying around.

At the end of the night, we’d get back home and marvel at the abundance of treats .. but it was always those home-made delights we fought over most.

I remember Mom making us “Goofballs” and I think I’ll make some for my grand-kids today :).


Goofball image courtesy of

1 pkg. Kraft caramels
1 can Eagle brand milk
1/2 lb. butter
1 box Rice Krispies
1 bag large marshmallows

Unwrap the caramels and place into a heavy saucepan.  Add the Eagle brand milk and the butter and stir until the caramels are melted and a sauce is formed. Remove from heat.

Stick 1 toothpick into a large marshmallow and dip it into the sauce carefully.  Immediately roll the caramel covered marshmallow in Rice Krispies. Set on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to cool (remove toothpick).    These travel great and kids (and adults) gobble them up!

And .. sing something, will ya?

Happy Halloween!!

Categories: Family, Food, Fun, halloween, Holidays, Home, Life | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

The heart of the matter

What do you want?

How many times have you – or has someone close to you – asked this question?

If you’re not sure of your answer, try this exercise; it can help you discover your soul’s desire.

Grab a piece of paper and at the top of it write: “Things I want.”  Then, below it, list everything you can think of.  A better job, a fitter body, a new car, whatever.  When you’ve made your list, turn the page over and write “Things I yearn for.”   Then, start filling out that list.  You might find yourself listing things now that were not on your first list.   That’s because, according to Martha Beck, the first list – your wants – is created entirely by your mind and the mind is conditioned to tell us what we think we want or need.  Yearnings are whispered by the soul; our souls tell us what we really want and need.  As you make your 2nd list, don’t worry about how the things on the list might come to be,  just know that … if you pay attention to them, they will.

Example:  If you want a new car you might really be yearning for …. freedom and if you want romance you might really be yearning for …. intimacy.

My own list looked like this:

   – Want-                                    -Yearn-

1.      Less debt                                      Freedom

2.      Time with spouse                    Connections

3.      Fitness/health                          Confidence, strength

4.      Travel                                          Adventure

5.      Smaller house                            Freedom

I see a pattern emerging here; do you?

image from

When we take the time to really listen to ourselves, we find the soul is always the heart of the matter.  Our soul yearnings resonate with truth and conviction.  Wants feel … restless, demanding and impatient.

I’m choosing to explore my soul’s desires and leave the wants behind.

What do you want?

Categories: Attitude, Life, Personal, Romance, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

Pushing for normal

Ever woken up and felt a pinch that lets you know  that… ooh … this is not going to be your best day?

I did. Yesterday morning, I woke up to a fat lip and a tingle that told me how, overnight, an excruciatingly painful cold sore had taken hold of my lower lip.  Right in the middle where the coffee cup hits, a spoon rests, and where teeth can connect.  Ouch.

Lysine helps drive it under; image from

I’ve gotten these beauties since I was a wee girl; probably a leftover from a well-meaning relative’s kiss at Christmas-time. Now … they appear whenever I’m stressed or run-down .. or both.

I had a long day before me then, today and tomorrow … 8 hours of training + a 1 hour commute.  8 hours of training, talking, role-playing, learning and communicating.  All while sporting a bubbly, painful thing smack in the middle of my mouth.  Where I greet people.  Where it can’t hide.  Where I can’t hide it.

What’d  they serve us for lunch you ask?   A salty soup, a crusty bread sandwich and potato chips – Oh my goodness, nerve endings screamed as shock waves of pain radiated through my face.

It looks bad.  It feels much, much worse.

And it reminds me that my “normal” days… my 360 days a year without these …. are pretty darned wonderful …

    What symptoms tell you that you’re stressed?

Categories: Life, Personal | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

I nearly missed it!

I almost let a milestone slip past me … turns out, I’ve been blogging one whole year! The actual 365 day mark was last Tuesday;  my first post on 10/18/10 can be found here.

... thank you for the love ...

Oh what an adventure it’s been!  I’ve written a lot, deleted more, shared too much and cried. I’ve laughed, I’ve learned and I’ve grown.   More than anything else, I’ve been blessed. Blessed by the kindness shown by so many of you – my fellow bloggers –  from all over the world.  What an experience this has been!   You’ve inspired me with your writing, rewarded me with your comments and humbled me at just how many experiences we share in this game called life.

So today .. on this 1 year +1 week blog-iversary,  I just want to say:

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be for me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend

Categories: Blogging, Growth, Joy, Life, News, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , | 32 Comments

Dog Lessons

Laddy and Stevie happily running on the family farm (click on photo for a better view) ; an emjayandthemphoto

There’s a lot we can learn from dogs. If we lived by their philosophy, we’d be much better off.  It’s been said that, in the wild, dogs fight only for two things: food or a mate, everything else is purely choice.

On that note, remember to:

Never pass up the opportunity to take a joy ride.

Allow fresh air & the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, run and greet them with gusto.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Be loyal.

Take naps and always stretch before rising.

Run, romp and play.

Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

No matter the criticism, don’t buy into the guilt & pout. Run right back and make friends.

Categories: Attitude, Personal | Tags: , , , | 32 Comments

on Imagination

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein.

Where are you headed today?

image from

Categories: Attitude, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Life, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

“Magic” Pumpkin Spice Cake

Where’s the magic you ask?  2 – count ’em – 2 ingredients!

image courtesy of

Ready?  Here we go …

  • 1 – Spice Cake Mix*
  • 1 – 14oz can of pumpkin (not pie filling, just pumpkin)

Mix ingredients together using an electric mixer; the dough will be thick – do not add anything!  (Nope, no eggs, oil or water – nada).

Pour into a well greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 29-32 minutes at 350.  ( It may be hard to spread out .. that’s OK, do the best you can .. it levels out at is bakes.) Since I used a glass pan, I turned the heat down to 325 and baked for ~31 minutes.  Test cake for done-ness with toothpick at 28 minutes, since ovens vary.

Let cool, frost as desired. Top with vanilla, cream cheese, caramel or German Chocolate icing- or powdered sugar – your call.   You can also add chopped walnuts to the icing if you like.

These make fabulous muffins, too!! (This makes about 14 large muffins).

*You can substitute chocolate cake mix for the spice cake mix.  You will have a moist & decadent chocolate cake and no one will taste the pumpkin – I swear!

I used Duncan Hines but store brand works, too

Categories: Food, Home, Personal, Share | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Jesus was a Capricorn

Words & Music by Kris Kristofferson

Akiane's image of Him; source: Google images

Jesus was a Capricorn, he ate organic foods.
He believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes.
Long hair, beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends.
Reckon they’d just nail him up if He come down again.

‘Cos everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Get back, John!

Egg Head’s cousin Red Neck’s cussin’ hippies for their hair.
Others laugh at straights who laugh at freaks who laugh at squares.
Some folks hate the whites who hate the blacks who hate the clan.
Most of us hate anything we don’t understand.

‘Cos everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Help yourself, brother.
Help yourself, Gentlemen.
Help yourself Reverend.

* * *

Colton’s story + Akiane Kramarik’s image she drew in “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo, inspired this post.

Have you read it yet?










Categories: Faith, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Life, music, News | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

The Glad Game

Recently a friend commented that I “am always about the positive and they’re more of a realist, and it isn’t always positive.”   At first, I was a little taken back by the comment but, I know her heart and I know she didn’t intend to wound me.  Still … her choice of words made think, think about why I think the way I do.

I don’t exist in dreamland. I don’t live with fairies, butterflies and sprinkle topped cupcakes. Although that might be nice, on occasion.

I have lived with darkness and I have lived with fear.

I have lived with someone who made me feel less than.

I have been down to a handful of change in my pocket.

I have been hungry and I have been cold.

I have been 2 weeks from homelessness.

I have been ill and I have been alone.

I have been in danger and I have been preyed upon.

I have had my faith and my sense of justice tested.

I have been all these things and still … still I am grateful.


image courtesy of

I play the “Glad Game.”   The game “Pollyanna” purposed to find something good about each and every day.

It’s a choice, I know, but it’s my choice.

It’s my choice to take my experiences – good, bad and indifferent –pile them into life’s  backpack, and press on.

I stumble sometimes. I get petty, exasperated and ornery.

But I’m not bitter and I don’t live with regrets.

I could wish for more.

I could. I could. I could.

But I don’t.

I am positive.

I am thankful.

I am positive that I have much to be thankful for.

That’s who I am.

Who are you? 

* * *

I am thankful for …

…the mess to clean up after a party

because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

…the taxes I pay

because it means that I’m employed.

…the clothes that fit a little too snug

because it means I have enough to eat.

…my shadow who watches me work

because it means I am out in the sunshine.

…the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot

because it means I am capable of walking.

…all the complaining I hear about our government

because it means we have freedom of speech.

…that lady behind me in church who sings off key

because it means that I can hear.

…lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing

because it means I have a home.

…my huge heating bill

because it means that I am warm.

…weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day

because it means that I have been productive.

…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours

because it means that I am alive.

– by Nancie J. Carmody

Categories: Faith, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Because sometimes I just know

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where what you feel doesn’t match what’s being presented to you?  I have and I experienced it again this summer.

We’d been introduced to a new couple via mutual friends when I experienced something that gave me pause:  A feeling of unease. Butterflies. A sudden upset stomach.  Wooziness.  (and no, I wasn’t ill and only had 1 drink).

I acknowledged my feelings but attempted to shelve them; they were insistent and kept re-appearing as the evening progressed.  The hostess was lovely, their home was beautiful but it was him that I reacted to.  I took note of my body’s reaction whenever he addressed me. He was agitated and trying especially hard to be liked.  I felt for him in that moment but couldn’t help but notice how he frequently criticized and dismissed her .. in front of all of us.  I saw the sadness in her eyes and soon I really saw what my body had already recognized: a bully.

And then I felt it again; a primitive tug, pulling me away. I wanted to grab my purse and flee, to get as far away as possible.  Emotions washed over me.  Grief, sadness…  desperation. I had to get out of there and I found myself in the bathroom trying to compose myself.  I remember thinking, “I am truly losing it!”  But .. still, I listened.  I’ve learned to do that.

Thankfully, the evening ended soon after and before we were out of the driveway I said to everyone in the car: “I don’t ever want to see or be around that man again.”

That’s fairly clear, even for someone as direct as me.

I didn’t say, “I am not sure I like that guy” or “He’s not my favorite.”

I said, “I don’t ever want to see or be around that man again.”

Not long afterward, I heard that she was injured in a household accident and a shudder passed through me.   Because sometimes, in spite of the mask someone wears, sometimes I just know … better.


I am currently reading “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker and right after I started it yesterday, this post came to me.   

In his book, readers learn how to:

  • Recognize the survival signals that warn us about risk from strangers
  • Rely on their intuition
  • Separate real from imagined danger
  • Predict Dangerous Behavior
  • Evaluate whether someone will use violence
  • Move beyond denial so that their intuition works for them


Categories: Attitude, Faith, Quotes, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 40 Comments

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