Monthly Archives: February 2013

Kisses so gently

Laden with blossoms


Laden with snow


“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”  – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass

*emjayandthem photos.

Categories: Faith, Growth, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

Burning burning

“The world doesn’t need more people playing small.

It’s time to stop hiding out and start stepping out.

It’s time to stop needing and start leading.

It’s time to start sharing your gifts instead of hoarding them or pretending they don’t exist.

It’s time you started playing the game of life in a ‘big’ way.” – Harv Eker.

on fire

Who’s burning with me?

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, fear, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Joy, Men, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Survey says 11-11-11

My blogging friend, Dianna, at These Days of Mine tagged me in this challenge recently.  As Dianna said, this one’s a bit long so you might as well make yourself comfy now.

The Rules:

1. Post the rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random facts about you.
3. Answer the 11 questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Since I’ve been blogging since 2010, it was challenging to come up with 11 random things that I haven’t shared before.  So here goes nothing!

this is me .. 28 years ago

this is me 28 years ago. Wonder where that red Zebra shirt went?

1) I never wear red. The photo above is an exception as I’m partial to blues and purples.

2)   I am a light sleeper and find it hard to sleep in hotels because I hear everything and am afraid of missing the alarm.  So, I  go to bed extra early to make up for all the hours I don’t sleep at all. Ugh!

3) Not long after I came along, Mom got very sick and I had to go live with her parents in B.C., 2 provinces away.  I lived with Nana and Grandpa for a year and didn’t learn of this until I was a parent myself.

That's me as an infant with my parents, brothers and sisters. Mom was so tiny. I wore that dress as part of a costume for a play; I was a size 2 at the time and that dress was tight on me!

That’s me as an infant with my parents, brothers and sisters.

4) I performed a Wheat-ectomy 4 weeks ago; no more joint pain, no more hypoglycemia, -7lbs down, and feeling snazzariffic. For more read

5) I never watch horror movies or anything demonic. Ever.

6) Elvis was my first crush. I might have shared that before. Hee Hee.

Hello, Handsome!

Hello, Handsome!

7) I grew up at the racetrack. I’ve written about that before, too.

In the Winner's circle with Mom & Dad, 1982.

In the Winner’s circle with Mom (front) & Dad (right behind me in green), 1982. That’s our hunky horse trainer, Bill, far right. He was my 2nd, 3rd and 4th crush.

8) I choose listening to music over watching TV every time.   I love to sing along and don’t care who’s listening!

9) I once went 2 years without eating candy bars. Didn’t miss them but I could never give up pie.

10)  I care less about what someone tells me than what they do.

11) In my heart of hearts, I’m still a farm kid.

getting ready to hit the dusty trail!

getting ready to hit the dusty trail with my cousin Kathy. I’m on Riley, my Arabian/Welsh pony, and she’s riding Queen, cousin Deb’s Pinto/Palomino mix.

Here are the 11 questions Dianna asked:

1) What’s a favorite summertime memory from your childhood?   Playing cops & robbers on horseback in the coulees around the farm.

2) You and a close friend have an afternoon to spend together. What are your plans?  Have lunch somewhere cozy that allows for plenty of raucous laughter. Maybe on my patio.

3) What dish can you prepare without using a recipe?  All of them. I mostly cook from memory and that’s why no two dishes are ever quite the same.

4) What image is on your mouse pad?  Family photos

5) Do you have a nickname?  MJ but Mom calls me Jeansy.

6) What is your favorite way to exercise?  Dancing.

7) Do you play a musical instrument? Yes, piano & guitar

8) Were you named for someone? If so, whom?  My middle name is Jean and that’s for Nana Jean

9) What is your favorite type of music?  A mix between Classic Rock, Country, Disco and Elvis of course.

10) When is your birthday (month and day)?  6/21 or as Hubbs likes to tease, “the longest darn day of the year!”

11) What’s the closest you’ve ever been to a natural disaster?   Do mountains of snow count?

And lastly, my 11 questions for you are below:

1) Coffee or tea?

2) Who mentored you in your career/job?

3) If you could go back in time and right one wrong, what would it be?

4) It’s your birthday and everyone important to you is gathering to celebrate:  what type of celebration do you prefer? (large/small, type of food, inside/outside, at home/restaurant, etc)

5) What’s the last book you recommended?

6) Think about your family growing up – what role did you play and do you still? (Organizer, peacemaker, etc).

7) You’ve been given 2 tickets to anywhere … where do you go and who’s going with you?

7) Finish this sentence: I’ve always wanted to ____________. (Please keep your answer P.G., thanks!)

8) What smell makes you think of summertime?

9) What do you wish others knew about you?

10) Do you have a quote that inspires you?  (I have many but a favorite is “To thine own self be true.”)

11) What one possession from your childhood do you wish you still had?

The rules didn’t specify how many bloggers to name for this so I’m choosing everyone who reads this post. I know it’s a bit involved but hey – if I can do it, so can you.  🙂 But, should you find yourself pressed for time, please feel free to choose just a few of my 11 questions to answer.   Either way, I’ll be right here, ready to readCheers!

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Work it out

Growing up the youngest of five, there were times that we just didn’t get along.

With 9 years between the oldest and youngest (me) and 3 channels to watch, one of them French, TV shows were often decided on by the (much bigger) boys.   Favorites like “The Carol Burnett Show” or “The Wonderful World of Disney” garnered cooperation from all but  “Hockey Night in Canada” meant front row seats for them and we girls off doing something else.

When Mom heard us bickering over something – the last cookie, the TV channel, etc, her response was always “Oh for Pete’s sakes, work it out.”

The thing is, we had each other and several thousand acres to run around on. We had animals and bikes, ponies and hay stacks.  We made up games and found ways to stay entertained.   And as much as they teased and tortured, my brothers’ schemes and ideas made for great adventures … and usually got us into trouble.

Like smoking in the hayloft.

Maybe not the best idea.

Or test driving the farm truck with three or four of us in the truck bed … headed down prairie trails at 50 mph and no brakes.  It’s a wonder we survived to laugh about it now.

In my experience, being farm raised meant a firm foundation and consistent values sprinkled with a healthy dose of neglect  freedom. We were taught what to do and we did it.  We had chores and responsibilities. We were trusted to figure things out as we went.  And did we ever.

I’ll never forget one hot summer’s day when the boys convinced us to trek a half  mile to the river for a swim. I was 4.   Filling a couple of mason jars and swiping a few cookies, I’m sure Mom assumed we were headed to the tree house, a daily play site.  The five of us took off, making our way through the brambles of the coulee, and down the raggedy hills to that swiftly flowing river.  I was too young to know better but oh-so-happy to be included.

the South Saskatchewan river, view from our homestead; an emjayandthemphoto (C)

the South Saskatchewan river, a view from the homestead. That water is cold and swift and deep.  an emjayandthemphoto (C)

The sun warmed my back as we played and that river sand felt so silky smooth sliding through my fingers. I remember water above me and lights cutting through it.  I didn’t know I was drowning but it was my brother’s arm who yanked me out, sputtering and scared.

A neighbor found us a few hours later and our parents, frantic and panicked, spanked every single one of us, both crying hysterically as they did.   I can only imagine the terror we terrorists caused them.

So when I saw this Mom’s creative way to make her kids “work it out,” I just had to chuckle, think of Mom and Dad and the five of us rug rats, too.   Because if we had been made to wear this as kids, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be around to talk about it.

image from

“You shut up; no, YOU, shut up.” image from

How were conflicts resolved in your family?  Did your parents have a saying you remember hearing?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Ice, Ice Baby

We had another round of weird winter weather overnight.  Weird as in .. way different than what any of us grew up with.

T-storms and rain at midnight + warm southerly winds .. in February.

45F!  What the ??

I woke to an angry wind lashing the house and the sounds of ice pelting the windows.

Yep – over night it froze, schools closed and we are now hovering at 28F… and dropping.

With snow coming.

And more wind.

I fear today is just another commute to no-where.

But … still I must try.

So I’m taking a page out of Mom’s book.  The one she used to check us over with before we left for parts hockey games unknown.

I’ve got a full tank of gas, boots and a blanket in my SUV; my phone is charged and lunch is packed.

I just have to put my hands on that extra bit of nerve it takes to face roads like this!

I hope the roads you traverse today are safe and uneventful!

“Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.”
– Mark Twain

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Home, Life, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

On falling and living

So I’ve spent most of this week readying to move into my new office on Monday.

New as in .. not really new, but it’s new to me.

New as in .. it comes with the new job I took 3 months ago but … it was occupied.

New as in .. out with the old, in with the new.

Even if I’m not technically new. Heh Heh.

So I packed, I tossed and I sorted this week. And during that time,  I thought a lot about the transition.

About how I didn’t want to just feel like I was taking someone else’s office.

How I wanted it to feel like it was mine.

So .. on my lunch break yesterday, I stopped into a local store that I love to visit. They have odds & sods and this and that but mostly? Mostly what I love about it are the people who run it  – they’re friendly and kind and the store always smells good. George, the cat, hangs out and sometimes allows a drive-by pet.  The holistic health resources and spiritual items they display never fail to inspire me and make me think.

I headed back to the office with two bottles of essential oils: Lavender and Lemon.  Sprinkling a few drops  each onto some potpourri I had handy, I placed two small bowls strategically in the vacant office that will be mine on Monday. The fragrance .. ever so soft .. was fresh and calming and lovely.

On a whim, a little framed sign caught my eye and, laughing to myself, I knew it had found a home on my desk.

falling down_getting UP


Because I am my own worst critic.  There isn’t anyone in my company who could ever be tougher on me than I am on myself.

This sign reminds me to try.  And to get back up again if I stumble. And maybe, just maybe, to ease up a little, too.

What saying inspired you recently?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, fear, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

A Valentinian Twist

google images

google images

What’s that?  Don’t have a Valentine?

Valentines Day is for new love and little kids, you say?

Or maybe you’re part of a couple and you’re past all that.

I get it.

It’s winter. It’s cold. You’ve got things to do.

I know.

I say all the same things myself.

And then I read this.  And it made me think:

Wouldn’t that be a fun twist on Valentine’s Day?

No giant teddy bears. No footie pajamas.

I don’t care to match a bear!

No 1-800-whatever.

How about this instead:

Each of us. Take one moment. And do something nice. For someone else.

Clear the snow from a neighbor’s walkway.

Buy some sweet treats for your office mates.

Leave a hand-written note of encouragement for your spouse, child or friend.

Let someone ahead of you at the check-out line.


Take a deep breath.

Be patient.

I will if you will.

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama.

P.S.   Please let me know what you did and, most importantly, how’d you feel when you did it?

** Happy Valentines Day, friends! **

You're the best!

You’re the best!

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Need be still

Slowing down, accomplishing nothing.

On purpose.

Puttering in the kitchen to the snores of old dog.

Easy, meandering conversations.  Or none at all.

Quiet, simple, expansive moments of peace.

Would He want us to be “still” by being lazy through life’s trials and tribulations? Should we expect Him to swoop in and transport us to the mountain top?

I don’t think so. I think we have to walk with Him to get there.

And for me, walking comes by being still.

Being still comes easier on week-ends.

Being still doesn’t just mean times of quiet.

For me, it means being awake, feeling alive and staying open.

It means closing out the noise and opening up to faith.

snow on branches

Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Do you make time to let your needs be still?


Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Snapping Strings

Maybe it happened when you had good news to share: an opportunity to talk about or the scale moving in the direction you wanted it to.

Like me, when those moments happen, you want to share them with others – friends and family – and instead, well instead sometimes you found excitement squelched by * crickets *.

But how much time have you spent dwelling on the approval you never got? May never get?

How many times has the stark silence of someone’s resistance dampened the high fives that rolled in … from others?

For me, it’s happened more than I’d like to admit.

You see, as much as I have tried to grow it up and suck it up and push all that stuff aside, it still irks me when I catch myself doing it.  When I realize how much weight I’ve allowed their actions to have.

Is it a control thing?  Is it true that when we allow what someone says or does to upset us, we are really just allowing them to control us?



I don’t think that’s it.  I think it goes deeper.

I think it goes back to the little child living in each of us. The one who just wants to be heard.

The one who wants to be relevant, charming, witty and smart.  Who wants to be valued, admired, celebrated and loved. Who wants to be invited back to the big kids table.  Who wants never to be turned away.

I’ve come to realize I might never all the connections I long for but I’ll always have me and that’s a relationship worth cultivating.  It’s probably time to snap some strings while I’m at it.

emjayandthem in grade one

emjayandthem in grade one

Will you join me?

Whose approval are you waiting for?

* * *

“I know what it’s like. I’ve seen it played out a zillion times. You’re waiting for that magical day when someone makes the connection and recognizes who you really are. Maybe they’ll first catch the sparkle in your eye. Or perhaps they’ll marvel at your insights and the depth of your spirit. Someone who will help you connect the dots, believe in yourself, and make sense of it all. Someone who will understand you, approve of you, and unhesitatingly give you a leg up so that life can pluck your ready, ripened self from the branch of magnificence. Well, I’m here to tell you, your wait is over. That someone, is you.” –  Mike Dooley

Categories: Faith, Family, fear, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Quotes, Random, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Game ready

So, there’s this big football game on Sunday: Brothers coaching the San Francisco something-or-others against the Baltimore what’s-their-names.


If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m not there for the game.

I’m there for the food and the commercials! 🙂

The Budweiser Clydesdale’s commercials are a favorite of mine and this one makes me think of two special blogging friends:  D at The View Out Here who raises & trains beauties like these and Dianna over at These Days of Mine who wishes she did.

Happy Super Bowl, everyone!

Need some easy-peasy recipes for your football gathering? Visit my Recipe vault!

Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Opinion, Relationships, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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