Monthly Archives: November 2011

Heeding the heart

So there I was last night, rushing home, immediately changing out of my office clothes and readying for supper.  I found myself sighing and pushing through the meal’s preparation. I found myself annoyed, distressed and rushed.

And then I stopped it.

I slowed down.

I turned on some music, poured myself a drink, and took my time.

I sauteed, I stirred, I tasted & I served.

The guys meandered in and out of the kitchen, unaware of the chaos reigning the previous moments.

We enjoyed our meal, cleaned up and everyone dispersed as is the norm.  I turned towards the rest of my evening and felt it creeping in again .. the rush of laundry to be done-Christmas gifts to be wrapped – tidying up calling out to me and I saw it:  the shoulds were back … in full force.

And then I stopped it.

I turned on a light, scooted it closer to my reading chair, poured a glass of ice water and settled in with my book. Turning off the TV, the only sounds left were mine  and the snores from old dog.   And it was just what I needed.

* * *

“There’s a moment in everyone’s life when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you better learn to know the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” ~ Sarah Dessen

When’s the last time you heeded the whispers of your heart?

Frankie listens to his heart when it says: Rest up!

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Growth, Holidays, Life, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery | Tags: , | 23 Comments

On guesting

I’ve been asked to be a “guest” at another blogger’s site.

Just a bit of background  ~  I met Alana in a Vision Board class this fall.  She was smart, precise, curious and a bit shy.  There was a moment in the class that we found ourselves talking about relationships and I casually commented how that night was “date night.”  And she got it. A smile lit up her face.  And that moment for me … when she let her heart shine through, I felt a connection with her spirit.  She understood what I was trying to say – that I value my marriage, that I pay attention to it and that I have not let him wither on the vine.  I left wondering if the reason I was there was to cross paths with her.

We kept in touch and, later, when she mentioned she’s been busy with another project that’s left her little time to blog and politely asked if I’d consider “guest blogging”  on her site, I agreed.  Even though I didn’t really know what all would be involved or what she might expect of me.   I trusted my instincts that this was good for us both.  And it is.

Thinking on it further, it came to me that I already know what to do: I’ll just try to be a good guest.

I’ll be thoughtful.
I’ll show up on time.
I’ll try to bring something to the table.
I’ll pitch in and not create any extra work for my hostess.
I’ll give my opinion if asked, and hold back if not.
I’ll be the kind of guest that someone might ask back again.

If you’d like to read my guest post, and Alana’s thoughts as well, hop on over to Musings of a Shiny Penny or via my blogroll.

# # #
Have you ever written a guest blog? 

How did you feel about it?

If you haven’t, is it something you’d be comfortable doing?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Life, Love, Relationships | Tags: , , | 20 Comments

The Leaving

What’s hard for me about Mondays isn’t the getting up.

It isn’t the schedule or the commute.

It’s not the people I work with or even the work I do.

What’s hard for me about Mondays …  is the leaving.

Categories: Family, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 16 Comments

The After Glow

The pies have all been sampled, the turkey’s put away.

The corn, asparagus and stuffing nearly gone.

Ham calls us for breakfast; rolls have long since vanished.

It’s the after glow that remains.

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Categories: Attitude, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal | Tags: | 32 Comments

12 Days of Delight

A few years ago my cousin and I were both struggling to come up with memorable Christmas gifts for our mothers.  Both of our  Moms are practical and modest; both have their “needs” met.  Daughters of the Depression, neither would ever ask for … more.

Racking our brains, we created a new tradition:  Let’s do the 12 Days of Christmas!  (Renamed the 12 Days of Delight!)

And with that, our plan was hatched. We’d scour the earth to find 12 unique gifts, wrap them individually and number them from 1 to 12.  We’d ship a package to each of them with STRICT instructions to begin opening their gifts – one per day – 12 days ahead of Christmas (December 14th) with the last present being saved for Christmas morning.

image from

It didn’t take us long to toss the idea of coordinating our 12 gifts with partridges, Lords-a-Leaping and geese. Instead we shopped for our girls considering their own individual tastes and interests.  Her Mom (my Aunt Irene) loves girly-girl stuff, singer Johnny Reid and black licorice.  My Mom enjoys books, gourmet nuts and favors songbirds and politics.   A sampling of our inexpensive array of gifts included:  slippers, tea towels, bath products, a new wallet with $$ tucked inside, books, hot chocolate, candy, word search games, pajamas and other clothing.

Both ladies enjoyed the game very much but when my Mom softly commented, “it’s just so much” I listened and, next year, trimmed hers down to the “6 days of Christmas” (she opens 1 present every other day until Christmas and seems much more comfortable with this version).  My Auntie? Don’t you touch her 12! She lines up her gifts and displays them proudly to all visitors who stop by.  We’ve adjusted as we’ve gone along and it’s worked out just fine.

Sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, distance separates us from loved ones and it’s just harder to accept at the holidays.  Sometimes the person you want to “do” for already has what they need. This is just a fun little exercise that lets your intended know they’re thought of every day.  That you’re right with them, smiling and delighting, loving them and enjoying a special tradition .. together.

P.S.  –the 12 days of Delight is easily adapted for children and other adults.  Have a niece who won’t be home this Christmas?  Know someone with a spouse in the Military?   Someone who might need a little extra TLC this holiday season? I promise you, the 12 days of Delight delivers.

 * * *

Have you started any new holiday traditions?   

Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Holidays, Home, Mom, Relationships, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 19 Comments

Happy Franksgiving

Thanksgiving is only 2 days away!

Old Dog, Frankie, would like to share what he’s learned in his 11 years of living in a busy holiday-filled home:

our dog, Frankie

  1. Be nice; greet your guests with gusto. (Everyone gets an enthusiastic sniff hello!)
  2. Take naps and stretch before rising.  (done with flair!)
  3. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. (When he’s had enough of the company and confusion, he simply disappears.  No feigned interest here).
  4. On relatives: avoid biting when a simple growl will do. Come to think of it, he’s never growled. He stays close to those he loves and, when he’s had enough, see # 3 above.
  5. Take naps and stretch before rising.  (also done with flair!)

 Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m thankful for each and every one of you!

  * * *

May you always be blessed

With walls for the wind.

A roof for the rain.

A warm cup o’ tea by the fire.

Laughter to cheer you.

Those you love near you.

And all that your heart might desire.

~Irish Blessing

image from

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Food, Friendship, Gratitude, Holidays, Home, Personal | Tags: , | 21 Comments

The Kiss

Going through some old photos with Mom earlier this fall, we came across one that stopped me in my tracks.

Featured was a young couple, obviously happy to see each other, locked in a passionate embrace.

It’s a photo so intimate that I feel a bit voyeuristic just looking at it.

You see, I knew the people in the photo. But I never knew them like that.

I remember seeing shared smiles between them and I certainly recall him holding the door for her and, on occasion, taking her hand.  They were both very dignified, modest and perhaps even a bit shy.

In all my life of knowing them, I never saw anything that resembled this.

His strong Swedish arms wrapped around her, his wide hands clasped behind her back.  Her head tilted slightly to the left, leaning into him and his kiss.

His cheeks, flushed with sunshine and good health; his eyes closed in the moment. Her stockings, dress and heels;  her arms around tucked in at his waist.

I don’t know where this was taken, but as soon as I saw it, I knew who it was: My paternal Grandparents, Ausser and Pearl.

As one of their 19 grandchildren, being privy to this image reminds me that, once upon a time, they were young and their love was new. Each touch .. an inspiration.

And although I witnessed their enduring devotion to each other, having attended their 50th, 60th and 70th Wedding Anniversary parties, it’s the sweet young love seen below that stopped me in my tracks.

"The Kiss"; an emjayandthem photo(C)

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you

When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
And now my consolation is in the stardust of a song

Beside the garden wall
When stars are bright …
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
Of paradise where roses bloom.

And though I dream in vain
There always will remain
… My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain.


Categories: Beauty, Family, Love, Personal, Relationships, Romance | Tags: , , | 28 Comments

Battery chargers

I read this quote recently and had to share it with all of you:  “Keep the people in your life who charge your battery, not the ones who drain it dry.

You know exactly who that refers to, don’t you?

The dream dashers.

The negative Nancys.

The wailing wallers.

Hello, I'm a Discourageraptor and I'm here to eviscerate your dreams!

The snark-a-saurus Rexes.

The discourageraptors.

The ones whose sport it is is to point out the frailty of your plans.

The ones who love nothing more than telling you every reason why whatever it is you’re dreaming of will never come to be. 

I don’t know about you but sometimes I find encouragement a little hard to come by.

I’ll set off on a mission and find myself assaulted by others’ opinions; every comment shared out of “concern” drags me further out to sea.  Suddenly .. I’m adrift. Bobbing along with the current, like a refugee, wondering if I even have the energy to get back to shore?

Easy answer, harder to hear:    I. Allowed. It.

Keeping the peace .. for someone else’s sake.

Allowing them to steamroll me because that’s just how they are.

Losing my voice in the cacophony of theirs.

And then, in the midst of it all, a glimmer of light winks at me in the distance: it’s a battery charger.  The person who smiles when they see you, lifts you up in love and whispers: You can do it.   That’s a great idea! How can I help?

image from Bronners Christmas Wonderland; Frankenmuth, MI

This Christmas, I’m asking Santa for a stocking full of Battery Chargers.

How about you?  Do you have someone to charge your battery?   Are you a charger or a discourageraptor?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Friendship, Growth, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 46 Comments

On goodness

“The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough, give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” —Mother Teresa

* * *

Today was a very good day.

It’s our youngest boy’s 18th birthday! He woke to an obnoxiously-loud singing card that we picked just for him because we know he doesn’t do mornings. And he laughed. Out loud. Before 7 a.m.  That’s a first!

He enjoyed plenty of good wishes from family & friends and later, dove into a one on one session with a favorite medium we know.  She resembles a prettier Shirley Partridge with her warm smile and loving nature and every time she sees my boy, she glows.  She hugged him and held him near and then told him all about himself … positive, wonderful things that I already know.

His kind heart.

notice anything in the photo?

His inquisitive personality.

His compassion, forgiveness and insight.

His Dr. Doolittle abilities with animals, his musical talents and that Pied-Piper like ability he possesses to just draw others to him.


Because people respond to goodness. They are drawn to light. They want some of what he’s got. And he’s got a lot.

Don’t misunderstand me: he’s no saint and has flaws like each and every one of us.

But, at his core, he’s good.

There’s only one problem. In this mother’s heart, he’s still my baby boy.

And I really can’t believe he’s 18 today.

I still see that little tow-headed boy. (c) an emjayandthem photo

Categories: Attitude, Family, Joy, Love, Men, Personal, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , | 26 Comments

Opening Day

It’s a big day here in Michigan: it’s opening day for the 2011 firearms season. This is a very big deal in a State so heavy on outdoor sports: fishing, hunting, water sports, etc.

I know of school districts that will close today;  colleagues have taken the week off and others have been setting aside “deer camp” provisions for weeks.

Over the last few years, around 700,000 individuals have purchased a license to hunt deer in Michigan. These hunters ultimately spend more than 9.6 million days afield and take more than 400,000 deer. Over 300,000 hunters participate in Michigan’s archery season, about 600,000 hunt with a firearm and 200,000 with a muzzleloader.   Source:

And the deer know it, too.    They’ve been manic of late; many car/deer accidents are being reported and I’ve seen my share alongside the road – some bolting and others … not so much.

What’s this have to do with me?  I scheduled a trip today that takes me  through farmland, corn fields and valleys. My kind of drive except for one thing:  It’s. Right. Through. The. Center. Of. Deer. Nirvana.

And there’s a dense fog advisory this morning.

Elmer Fudd image from

I’m not a hunter but I’m glad we have a hunting season. There are too many deer and, without hunters culling the population, they starve.  Ever seen a starving deer?  It’s a terrible, terrible sight.  All hunters I know eat what they take and those who get more than one often donate to local food banks.

So hunters please … please be safe, wear your hunter orange, and shoot straight.

As for me? I’ll take my time, heading out after the fog lifts, and keeping my eyes peeled for sudden bursts of tan coming out from the corn.

Categories: Animals, Food, Personal, Sports, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Java in my Jive

It’s Monday and I somehow got up extra early …. this translates to a special treat for me: time in my schedule for a stop at my favorite coffee house :).

Sometimes it’s those unexpected moments that make an ordinary day .. extraordinary.

How about you? Doing anything special for yourself today?

image from

Categories: Attitude, Food, Fun, Joy | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

At what cost?

Have you ever found yourself in a position to gain?

Have you ever found yourself then doing an about-face from where you thought you stood on the issue?


I was.

You see I had a situation before me that I was really excited about. It presented positively but it was those whispers in the night that I kept coming back to.

It was an growth opportunity for me!! Or was it?

It was for the betterment of others!! Or was it … self serving? 

It was something I should really do!!  Or should I?

In the end, I chose my instincts over my ego.  I pulled out.  I disappointed others but I stayed true to me and slept well for the first time in days.

I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul.

Thank you to my buddy, RichRipley, for introducing me to this powerful song.

Categories: Faith, Growth, Life, music, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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