Monthly Archives: November 2012

Bothering or brothering

There was no one happier than oldest son when the words “It’s a boy!” were announced.

Seven and a half years between them, he was the best baby helper anyone could ask for.

Peek-a-boos and I-love-yous, oh how those brothers played together.

Forts and castles, bikes and swords; skateboards, Legos and “come help me with my car.”

But …

Worlds change, boys grow up, and brothers move away.

But sometimes, like right now, their worlds come back together again.

And when that happens, parents get to see what they always knew:

A friend is a brother who was once a bother.”  ~Author Unknown

brothers .. then and now; an emjayandthem photo

Are you friends with your siblings? Are your kids good friends?

Categories: Faith, Family, Friendship, Life, Mom, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

And so, it begins

Thanksgiving has passed, the turkey’s put away,  and the last of the pie is gone.

I bought my first Christmas present yesterday and, for some reason, that felt like a milestone.  I’ve never started gift shopping so ~gasp~ late.

The only person that I have to ship to is Mom; with her in Canada and me here in MI, I need to “get it in gear” or her package won’t arrive on time.  That’s what yesterday’s gift was all about and it was done … online.  *Smile*

This year has been a whirlwind and I am in the center of it.  Yep, somehow, the Holidays snuck up on me.

Was it because Thanksgiving came early here in the U.S. (always the 3rd Thursday of the month, this year it “fell” sooner than later)?

Was it because I’m working two jobs and balancing that workload with the strains of oldest boy’s divorce, Mom’s health challenges, and our youngest boy’s transition to college?

Was it because we stopped hosting the fun-filled Family Christmas party?  Was doing that party what kept me organized and ahead of task, all these years?

Thinking about the Holiday and all the stress I’ve piled on myself in years past, I realized just how wonderful this Thanksgiving was.  It was calm, it was quiet, it was fun.  I wasn’t rushed, stressed or over-tired.  We had delicious food, enjoyable company and the energy to play games afterwards.

That’s what I want for Christmas, I’ve decided.

I told the boys yesterday that this is the year the Christmas of their childhood..grows up.  This year, they’re getting a few things they need and some money.  This year, I’m not standing in line for anyone.  This year, the cash they get can buy their wants .. or a tank of gas.  This year, we will have the grand kids I’m sure, but likely not on Christmas day, and that’s OK with me. Whenever we have them will be relaxed, cozy and fun.

This year, I’m giving myself permission to let Christmas not be what it always was.

How about you?  Anything about the Holidays that you want to shake up?

But I’m not quite ready to decorate … David Eppelheimer antique Christmas ornaments and tree lights. (Press Photo/Adam Bird)

Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

On Dating

Talking with my niece and nephew earlier this summer, I caught their attention when I said that Hubbs and I still date.

I saw the look of disbelief in their eyes and they saw the twinkle in mine.

One is in a long-term relationship and the other is not.

Leaning closer,  I explained why we schedule weekly date nights and have since we first met more than 20 years ago. It doesn’t mean we go out or even spend any money, it just means we set aside that time – non negotiable time – for each other.

When we married, we became an instant family, (more here) so we’ve never had time that was just “ours.”  We’ve never been on a Honeymoon; we’ve always been parents and that’s OK – it’s the life we chose and neither of us would change it. Our way to navigate together has been to schedule it, as a way to reconnect and reaffirm what we already know.

I’m glad we have prioritized this because:

  • Date nights mean “I hear you.”
  • Date nights mean “I love you.”
  • Date nights mean “I’m here for you.”
  • Date nights mean wearing something other than “Mom & Dad” clothes, a whiff of cologne, cleavage, a buttoned-down shirt, a swirly skirt and lipstick.
  • Date nights mean “You are still it for me.”
  • Date nights mean singing our songs, telling our work stories, and being in the moment.
  • Date nights mean comfort, warmth, passion and love.
  • Date nights mean “In spite of everything around us – jobs – kids – family – I still choose time with you over everything – and everyone – else.”

I love that he schedules tee times early enough so that he can come home, shower, change and spend the night with me. What girl wouldn’t love that in her man?

He loves that I use my time to do what interests me and, when he returns, he’s greeted by a warm and happy companion who looks nice, feeds him and wants to spend her night with him. What guy wouldn’t love that in his girl?

For us, date nights have always been the buoy we swim to against the undertow of daily living.

How about you?  How do you nurture your relationship?

“Choose the guy who ruins your lipstick, not the one who ruins your mascara.” -Unknown. Me & Hubbs, an emjayandthem photo

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Men, Personal, Romance, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Happy Leftovers Day

Turkey, pumpkin, cranberries and more.  Nope, I had no guilt having pie for breakfast today. None at all.

For more on why you ought to skip the guilt and enjoy yourself instead, visit a noted Dietician’s post on the Top 10 Reasons To Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Day Meal.

C’mon Grampa, drop something! Happy Franksgiving! (an emjayandthem photo)

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Humor, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Who’s the Turkey?

*originally posted  10/18/10 by  Emjayandthem

Mom was visiting us for the Thanksgiving holiday and we had no less than 17 guests in attendance. I’d been cooking for three days already so the fridge was stocked to the rafters, the garage fridge was jammed, and every spare counter-top seemed to hold a pie or appetizer.

Afterwards, while packing up the leftovers, Mom started to cover what was left of the 26 lb turkey.  I began to explain that I wasn’t keeping it when I saw a look of abject horror cross her face.  She tried to suppress it but there it was. Guiltily, I scraped the last of the turkey bones into the garbage. Later I tried to dodge the issue by explaining that we just didn’t have room to which she softly replied, “No turkey soup? That makes the most wonderful turkey soup you know.”

Of course I knew that. I grew up knowing that.  On the farm, mom made soup all the time; hearty hamburger soups during harvest, ham soup after Easter dinner, creamy potato soup, chicken noodle soup, you name it soup.  Soup was a staple in our home. Soup was a bowlful of loving care and not saved just for head colds or cold wintry days.


A few days later, after many hugs and tears, I put her on the plane back to her prairie home and reflected on what I’d nearly missed.  That week I bought a rotisserie chicken, cooked it down and made homemade soup, for the first time in years. Hubby thought he’d hit Nirvana! Next came beef & rice soup, beef vegetable soup,  chicken tortilla soup, ham & bean soup, you name it soup. More soup than you can ever eat! Guilt begets soup? In my case, yes, yes it did.

Flash forward to the next Thanksgiving: we were all gathered at a relative’s home and, for once, I wasn’t in charge of the meal.  Later, as we cleaned up, there it was:  what remained of the turkey.   As I started to cover it with foil, our hostess commented, “Oh we’re not keeping that.”  A look of abject horror crossed my face that I tried, but failed, to suppress.  “No turkey soup? That makes the most wonderful turkey soup you know.”

It was at that moment that I knew. I knew that all Mom wanted me to do was to look and really see what I was doing.  Slow down.  Re-examine. See the value in what’s before you.

I get it. Thanks Mom.

Me & Mom. an emjayandthem photo

MJ’s Turkey Soup:

Place all leftover bones and meat into a large stockpot, fill with water about 1/2 full. Add chopped onion & celery, seasonings (I use Mrs. Dash and a bit of garlic, salt & pepper).  Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for about 2  hours, or until all meat has fallen from the bone.  Remove from heat and carefully spoon out bones and discard.  When the broth and remaining meat has cooled, shred turkey into bite sized pieces and place back into the stock.

Add 1 chicken bouillon cube and whatever chopped vegetables or noodles you like. I add:  peas & carrots, shredded cabbage, more celery and onions, canned (chopped) tomatoes, corn, diced potatoes, rice or egg noodles (not usually all 3).  Bring to a boil until vegetables are cooked.  Season to taste.

Wonderful, economical and tastes like home.


Categories: Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

A lighter load to bear & a little bigger piece of the pie

Driving the other day, I found a country station with this song on it.

The words fit the times, I think.  If only it were that simple.

If everybody everywhere
Had a lighter load to bear
And a little bigger piece of the pie
We’d be livin’ us a pretty good life
And that’d be alright

Go heavy on the good and light on the bad
A hair more happy and shade less sad
Turn all that negative down just a tad
That’d be alright

If my dear old dog never got old
If the family farm never got sold
Another bad joke never got told
That’d be alright

more than enough pie;

Psalm 72:16 May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Family, Food, Forgiveness, Home, Joy, Opinion, Patriotic, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Go where you’re celebrated

I heard this yesterday and it really resonated with me, “Go where you’re celebrated, not just where you’re tolerated.

This week marks the start of the Holiday season, that jammed up time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For many, it’s a time of heightened expectations and high stress.   Neighbors and friends are already packed, ready to hit the road tomorrow; others are heading to the airport Wednesday, and a few more are not leaving ’till the wee hours of Thursday morning.

As I ponder on all those trying to reconnect with family this weekend, I hope for just one thing:  I hope they are met with celebration, not just toleration.

And I hope the same for you, too.

this will be my breakfast Friday morning 🙂

and Happy Franksgiving from old dog!

Categories: Faith, Family, Home, Life, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Go to your baby a million times

I saw this image recently and it made me chuckle.


Because this is me and this is how I mother. All-in.


Both boys tower over me by 10″ or more but when times are tough and obstacles seem impossible, I help silence their fears by channeling Mrs. Cluck.

* * *

“Don’t stand unmoving outside the door of a crying baby whose only desire is to touch you. Go to your baby. Go to your baby a million times. Demonstrate that people can be trusted, that the environment can be trusted, that we live in a benign universe.”  – Peggy O’Mara

If you’re a parent, can you relate? 

Categories: Attitude, fear, Growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Go with what you know

So, some of you know that I started a new job last Monday.   Holy Guacamole  – to say I’ve been a little busy would be an understatement.

The thing is … I’m still doing my old job,  and I’m navigating the new one, too.  And, truth be told, I’ve done a quite a bit of it for some time now.

Somewhere in the quiet part that is Sunday evening a little voice whispered to me: “Hey you, the forecast is nasty, and you have an awful lot of calls scheduled, so how ’bout a bit o’ lunch?”   I dug out a bruised Gladware container and assembled a beautiful salad of fresh greens, tomatoes, English cucumbers and grilled chicken. Then I wrote myself a note so I’d remember to take it with me today! 

And it was a good thing I did because this day took off like a shot and it was 2:00 before I remembered that I even had a lunch to eat.

And in that moment, I caught my breath, laughed out loud and thought, “Go with what you know.”

The situation was really no different than when I started blogging two years ago.  I remember getting all caught up in the excitement of it, the newness of it, and the desire to take off on the journey and see where it would go.

And I remembered how, later on,  I found myself stepping back and, in the end, giving myself permission not to know everything. To not have it all together. To do it my way.

So with that, I’m revisiting that post tonight.

I’m taking a page out of my own book and I’m going with what I know.

 * * *

Write what you know

by Emjayandthem

Asked about blogging, it hit me what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. Write as often as you want to but resist the pressure to publish every day.  Remember that you do this because you enjoy writing.  Example:   At first, I obediently followed the mandate set by my instructor –  to write and publish daily.  I know she meant well because her point was to keep it fresh and avoid too many days between posts.  But now, looking back, I can tell the difference between my “going through the motions-posts” and those that were really me –  at my most authentic.  And if I could tell, I’m pretty sure others could, too.

2. To that end, let your posts breathe.  Not all of your readers are “online” at the same time and when you post something new, older posts get pushed to the bottom.  Give each one its due.

3. Read (and be inspired) by the work of others:  Be moved by the posts, dreams and the designs of the many talented writers here in the blogosphere.  When I feel “stuck,” all I have to do is click & read.   In no time at all, I’m laughing, smiling, crying, nodding my head in agreement and commenting.  In no time at all, I’ve forgotten about my little blog and have subscribed to several more.

4. Commenting on blogs is a wonderful way to connect but there’s a tiny line between being interested and supportive and just being there to promote your stuff.  People will find you if they’re interested and they don’t … then they don’t.     The self-promoting commenter makes me think of that snot-nosed kid who dumps his milk at the dinner table on purpose: Look at me, notice me, see me, I’m here.   Geez, I get it already now knock it off!

5.  Mind your manners: respond to comments and acknowledge those who took the time to weigh in.  However, if someone chooses to swear at me, their comments will not see the light of day.  Constructive criticism – bring it on but general viciousness? Hell to the no.  My blog – my rules.

6.  Take the challenge:   The topics I care most about are the hardest for me to writeSo when I find myself feeling that pinch, I dig a little deeper and keep at it because I know I’ve hit the good stuff.

7.  Slog through:  Often, what I feel most passionate about can leave me feeling vulnerable and it’s tempting to self-censor…. but then I can easily lose the point of my post.  However, what I’ve learned is that the most difficult posts to write have become my favorites. Maybe not the most read, but.. My. Personal. Favorites.  And that counts for something, too. 🙂

8.  Be open to ideas:  Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and often at random times. Keep a list.  You can email ideas to yourself, record messages on your cell phone or, like me, scribble notes down on the backs of envelopes, post-its and grocery lists.

9. Have fun: If writing starts feeling like a chore, step away and do something else.  Chances are something else in your day will inspire you.   We’re not curing Cancer here, people!  Step away, mix it up, come back & let ‘er buck!

10. Write what you know:  Lastly, lots of blogging “authorities” will tell you to “become the expert,” or to find out what you’re an expert on.  Well, the only thing I am an expert on is me, my life and my experiences … and all of it is a work in progress anyways.

Have you ever stepped back from something only to discover that what you already know is actually … quite enough?  What have you learned to trust yourself with?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, fear, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

What she said

I believe in pink.

I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.

I believe in kissing. Kissing a lot. 

I believe in staying strong with everything seems to be going wrong.

I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.

I believe tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” – Audrey Hepburn

 * * *

Some say that it takes 41 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile.   Why overwork yourself?

*Google images

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

On gardeners

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  – Marcel Proust

Who makes you happy? Who lifts your soul so much that it can’t help but blossom?

* * *

Me & Hubbs at our Garden wedding .. all those years ago. An photo

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Growth, Joy, Quotes, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

On deciding where to go

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
— Dr. Seuss

Today we vote: it’s time to decide where we’ll go.

You going?

As we head to the polls today, America, let’s be all that we can be: civil, respectful, patient and kind. I’ve met and witnessed too many wonderful people across this great land to ever believe that what’s shown on TV represents the best of us.   God Bless America!  – your grateful citizen, MJ.

Categories: Attitude, Elections, Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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

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!

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

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...