Welcome to the warbling woods

So, as many of you already know, we’re in a period of transition here at the Emjayandthem house.

We’ve always been able to say that we’ve got one foot in each world – one grown and one at home (in high school).  Now, that’s no longer the case .. the youngest graduated and, while he’ll be living here – working and going to school – he’s “off” so to speak.  In his mind’s eye, he’s already “independent” (I know, try not to chuckle).

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering about what’s next.

I’ve been Mom for 26 of my 48 years and have never had much time for just me.  A lot of it has been by choice – I’m no martyr but I really do believe kids spell love t-i-m-e.   But, truth be told, I’ve never claimed much time for me.

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve started saving some of the week just for me. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve started thinking about a bucket list, much less acting on one.

Hubbs heartily suggested that I take up golf; he golfs regularly and loves it.  There’s nothing more that man would love than me by his side, riding, laughing and competing.

He loves it so I would too, right?

Armed with my steady rebuttals I gave him my pat answers over the years:  I don’t have time, I’m not very good at it, I don’t like the heat.

All true.

But here’s the real truth:  I stink at golf and I am used to being good at everything I do.   Not only am I not good at it, I’m not sure I care enough to invest the money and energy it will take to become better.

I listened to his encouraging words and his assurances that, after 30 some years, he still works on his game.  After 30 years, he still struggles.  There’s a part of me who thinks he’s nuts to work at something for so long!

I’m starting to understand him now.

See, I’ve been exercising regularly for about 3 months.  I don’t know when it happened but one day, one day I was able to do more than the day before.  A lot more. When I began I could barely do a push up; now I can do many. When I first tried, I could barely get through 15 min. of a fitness DVD;  now I can complete an hour and, panting and sweaty, I’m ready and eager for the next challenge.

And his words got me thinking:  have I really only chosen activities that I know I can shine at?  Entertaining, cooking, organizing, public speaking, project leadership?

Have I shied away from that which challenges me?

Yes I have.

I don’t know when it happened but I suspect that, somewhere along the way, I settled into the comfortable support pattern that so many Moms do: I set my hopes, dreams and delights on the back burner.  The problem? I forgot to go back and switch that burner on.

How about you?  Do you gravitate to that which you can master?  And can you delight in just trying?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 39 Comments

Post navigation

39 thoughts on “Welcome to the warbling woods

  1. Does this mean you’re going to start golfing with the Hubbs?

    • hmm .. not sure yet. I’m thinking about it, but I’m thinking about a lot of things that I want to do. Mostly? Mostly I’m going to take my time and that is so unlike me! Cheers to you, Dianna!! MJ

  2. I think it’s normal to gravitate to activities at which you have some competence. It’s frustrating to keep trying to do something that you don’t necessarily enjoy. On the other hand, I get what your hubs is saying. For me, it was bowling. I stared out knowing nothing about the game. I had no idea how to throw the ball, where to throw it, how the scoring worked. The game itself didn’t draw me in, but spending time with the girls did. The love of the game came later. I suspect you might find yourself in a similar situation with golf. And I’ve had a similar experience to yours with exercise. I’m not athletic. I didn’t used to be motivated. All it took was some encouragement from a friend and noticing myself gaining strength and ability. Now I can’t imagine NOT doing it!

    Give golf a shot. (Pun intended!) You might discover you like it more than you knew!

    • Thank you, Terri. I hadn’t thought of your bowling experience but you’re absolutely right. It’s something that you started because you thought it might be fun to hang with the girls — and it was — but soon the game became fun, too. I don’t know yet if I’ll golf, but when I saw that quote about only the best birds being able to sing, I thought – wow – there it is. A little AHA moment in the face of all my rebuttals … If for nothing else, I am definitely going to try out some new things and golf just might be one of them 🙂


  3. I do enjoy trying different things, but as you say, have a tendency to stick with those I am most adept at. Taking on blogging was/remains one of the big challenges in my life. I have no natural aptitude for computers, and I don’t particularly like them. When I was in HS the ‘computer’ course was w/ the old IBM card…do not fold, spindle, mutilate…key punch 🙂 When I’m at the spa lifting weights, I see the folks on the golf course. Some look really happy. Some throw things…really, saw a club go flying one day 🙂 While it has no appeal to me, they may well feel the exact same way about lifting weights. Happy fruitful harvesting of your ME time. I had a micro taste this past year w/ dd at school for the first time. She will be back to homeschooling in the fall, thus my break was short lived. I did get a lot in though 😉

    • Well, I would not have ever suspected that you faced challenges blogging — your blog tells a different story 🙂

      And yes, I am not an angry competitive player – of any kind — I could care less about winning. But .. I do want to enjoy myself in the experience – whatever “it” is — could be golf, could be something else, who knows?

      I giggled at your last sentence, “I did get a lot in though.” Such a mom statement isn’t it? 😉

  4. Gosh, MJ, this is such a great question. I suppose most of us like to do things we’re good at. I suspect it’s part of being human. For me, however, exercise, is never easy–and neither is writing, for that matter. Yet, I hate exercise and love writing. Well, I suppose I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I can’t not do it.

    • When you think back to being a kid and riding your bike or running around, we did it because it was fun, not because it was “exercise,” right? That’s the kind of exercise I try to find — I like something that I can follow and do without feeling like Elmer Clodhopper on roller skates. I love writing, too, but I love to write when the words come to me and not when I have to look for them. And like you, I can’t not do it.

      It’s time to get good at some new things, methinks! 😉 MJ

  5. I am continually amazed at Life’s timing.. in bringing me to your blog today and discovering this incredible post! It completely resonates with me, especially this morning. I’ve been acknowledging the source of my writers block coming from my deep admiration of talented writers like yourself, and allowing in that cruel false voice to whisper “What can I contribute? All these people are such talented essayists.” Now your article arrives in my lap(top) just after enjoying today’s post at A Leaf in Springtime, where I commented to Sharon on how much her article helped me: “…I choose to remember that your (and others’) brilliantly crafted writing does not take away from my own humble works. It builds me up. Inspires and reignites my inner flame to burn brighter, and in the way that only I can.” I want to say the same to you. I don’t want to only do things I am good at. I want to allow myself to be good enough, just as I am, while I continue to learn and improve. Also I enjoyed how you tied in the exercising bit, which reminds me how I actually did walk much farther on this morning’s walk with the dog and hardly noticed. I shall remember to take delight in just trying. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your kind words; the blogosphere is filled with many, many wonderful people – great writers, beautiful dreamers, and more.

      We are all good enough – just as we are — but for me, the growth will lie in pushing myself to try new things and not be afraid of looking stupid. Being incapable might not be a bad thing .. because I expect that I’ll eventually graduate to … capable!


  6. Oh my gooh! Back burners have been my front burners for the 60 years I have been on this Earth –
    Its always been kids, helping with brothers and sisters, then my children and then helping with Grandchildren – yes, kids are time!
    I’m just beginning to bring “my stuff” to the front burners – I started a blog but then realized I need to bring other things forward too –
    Our marriage is now back to the beginning of time (we will be married 39 years next week)
    Its almost like the first year of marriage – learning about each other all over again since we are together almost 24 hours a day – Restful, yes but also challenging –
    We were both used to our own schedules – our own duties – and our own time so blending all of this together has been wonderful and stretching!
    I’m still trying to figure out the next phase in my life – looking forward and trying to release fear
    God Bless

    • Somehow I had a feeling you’d say that it’s always been everyone else — and not in a bad way – but in a giving way. And now it’s your time. And for most of us, we’re not quite sure what that looks like, right?

      Love that your marriage is back to the “beginning of time” – what a wonderful way to word it. Enjoy!


      • Yep back to “OUR” time and trying to give back to the Lord by recognizing all His blessings especially our marriage and finding our next road to travel
        God Bless

  7. There have been so many days that I feel like a complete failure as a parent that some of my best loved activities are one I excel at because I know there will be a positive outcome. When it has been a sucky day at parenting – when everything that could go wrong does – at least I have my flowers to look at and know I succeeded at something that day.

    • That is a very honest way of looking at it … I never thought about gravitating to the things I’m capable at as a way of steadying myself and providing some consistency. Great point Karyn!

  8. Maybe this Fall you could come down here and spend some time horseback?!

  9. I learned to play tennis as an adult, and I’m still struggling just to sustain mediocrity in my tennis game. I’ve always said that I won’t take up golf because I don’t want to be really terrible at two things at the same time. Who knows? Maybe someday . . .

    • ha ha – now that was a funny response. I have never played tennis; I used to hit the tennis ball against the side of the barn .. does that count? 🙂 MJ

  10. Out of 18 holes of golf and around 100 strokes I hit the ball well…TWICE. I could continue to try, but what’s the point? Do what you enjoy!! (that’s my advice) Do what you enjoy.

    • good advice, RR, and I will take you up on it. If I try golf, I’ll take some lessons. Then I’ll try it and see how it goes. if I like it – great – and if I don’t – NEXT!


  11. I have jumped into several new activities as an adult, knowing full well I would look like a complete goof ball..figured it was just my pride so I sucked it up and did it anyway. When we were in our early 20’s we signed up to teach the religion class for teen agers…long story short, we took them skating. I had never been on skates in my life up until that point. humbling? oh yes, but the fun and laughter I had w/ the kids was they got to see another side of me. Signed up years later to get a motorcycle license…same thing happened…I was in a learners group w/ people 1/2 my age…all of us riding motorcycles around the course practicing for our final test. I was again totally out of my comfort zone…but as someone who has actively worked off of a bucket list since 1999, if something resonates with me, I will suck it up and dive in…head first. As a fellow almost empty nester, I can appreciate the big picture in your life. DM

    • I admire your courage and push to “just do it.” There’s nothing more humbling than embarrassing yourself in front of kids — and they will only love you more if you do. Do you have your list published? I’d love to read it :). Thanks for your kind words of support, as always ~MJ

      • by bucket list is buried in the archives of one of my blogs…I came across it last night…need to update it think I will repost it in the next short while and let you know. DM

  12. This is all so true. I think raising kids is challenging so maybe I have focused on the activities I know I am good at because I just needed something easy in my life. Now that I have an empty nest, life seems a little more peaceful and I have been challenging myself to get out there and do some things that are uncomfortable. Guess we need a balance of comfort and discomfort…

    • I think you’re right; it’s about balance. I don’t want to be too predicable but I also like some level of predictability, too. Having said that, I’ll never skydive 🙂 MJ

  13. I think it’s natural to gravitate toward the things we are good at. But I also believe we learn more from doing that which isn’t quite so easy. Somehow, I think you would be good at anything you spent time learning about. You’ve just got a ‘knack’ for shining!

  14. I didn’t think I’d be any good at golf. My whole outlook on the subject of golf was…’I can’t understand why you people like to hit a little ball around the pasture with a stick’. But I tried anyway. A few times. I was beyond bad and found it pretty frustrating. I came away thinking…Golf courses would be AWESOME to gallop my horse across!! (Imagine how smooth that would be!) To this day still think it. Anyone know of a golf course they’re getting ready to rip up and re-seed?

    • “a pasture with a stick” ha ha ha! And do you know that I have had the EXACT same thoughts about galloping across a golf course and how smooth it would be? no gopher holes, no downed limbs .. whee! You are hilarious 🙂 MJ

      • 🙂 I have to tell you, after I hit the “reply” button I thought..Oh jeez, I hope I didn’t come off mean or destructive!
        Amen on the lack of gopher holes.
        Happy Weekend.

      • nope, not at all. If you could have only seen me nodding my head in agreement as I read your words, you would have felt right at home 🙂 Thanks D,

  15. The back burner has its purpose, for a time. It is a place where dreams and imagination simmer.
    Keep the Faith!

  16. I’ve had a lot of these same thoughts, and even felt like I was a late bloomer because so much of my more recent (in the last few years) knowledge of myself came after my kids left the house. I was a young mom at 23, and I poured myself into mothering. Loved it all! And I wasn’t completely in arrested development on a personal level. I took on part time work when they went to school, and then transitioned to full time. And there were always projects and crafts sprinkled throughout the years. But the real “me” time has come during these empty nest years. I miss my son and daughter, and there are moments I would flash them back for a visit to those days, if I could. But I love this time too. I feel bigger, stronger, more “me” than ever before. And I feel empowered to be “just” me, always a work in progress, doing the best I can. But I no longer feel I need to apologize when I fall short, or am lacking a skill. And I do what I am drawn to…not what others think I should do. That has been a challenge for me…hard to say no. But I’ve learned, if I’m not really interested in a hobby, game, whatever…I’m not going to put my heart into it. So I’ve learned to be honest up front, and to listen to my own heart for activities that draw me.

    Whew…sorry for the book! Well, knowing you from reading your posts the past year+, you’re already skilled at listening to your own promptings, and you’ll find ways to spread your wings that are just right for you! ~ Sheila

    • You always provide just the right measure of wisdom and comfort to me; thank you, Sheila. I draw huge encouragement from what you’ve offered here, book and all! 😉 MJ

  17. I played golf for awhile. After working inside all day, it was fun to get outside and go to the driving range or practice putting. I wasn’t very good, but it was something different and pleasant.

    • That’s what I was thinking, Patti. I like to get outside and whacking that little ball around might be good therapy 😉 MJ

  18. Pingback: Do it anyway | Emjayandthem's Blog

Please share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with people in my path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

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

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Grit & Honey

Women clothed in strength. Your story isn't over yet.

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

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


Nancy Roman

Flamidwyfe's Blog

Midwifing women all over the world!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Care Packages for Deployed U.S. Troops, Veterans, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, First Responders & 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


just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl


Death Before Sour Mix

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

Kathryn M. McCullough

Author, Artist, Expat

Iced Tea with Lemon's Blog

Random Thoughts by Karen

I also live on a farm

Just another weblog

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

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...



%d bloggers like this: