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Monthly Archives: October 2013

On Tender Hearts

So, those of you who read my stuff on a regular basis know that we have two boys.

What you may not know is that both, while strong and capable, fierce and determined, well both are tender at heart.

Both have a weak spot for animals.  Old people. The poor.

Both are funny, hard-working and kind.

And both are tender at heart.

So, it was a big of a surprise when, a month ago or so, youngest boy and I came across a wee baby mouse in the basement, zipping around.

“Look at him! He’s so cute!”

“No, he’s a rodent. And where there’s 1 there’s probably 10,” said the farm girl/mother/me.

“C’mon, Mom, just let me catch him and take him outside…….”

“No, they carry disease; you’re not touching that.”

And with that, the wee mouse came running up to his foot and stopped. Perfectly still.

Others might have stomped on him.  But we didn’t.

We left.

We told Hubbs.

Who freaked.

And set traps.

Many traps.

Farm girl saw a tiny mouse the size of this hair tie in the basement ...look what city boy bought to catch it with.

Farm girl saw a tiny mouse the size of this hair tie in the basement …look what city boy bought to catch it with.

Traps that were checked.  Traps where nothing happened.

Nothing.

Time went on.

And still … no mouse.

Flash forward to tonight; the weather’s turned colder, the nights are nippier, and youngest has been asking to wash his electric blanket. The same one that’s been languishing in a basement laundry basket all summer.

So tonight .. into the wash it went. And before I put it in the machine, I shook it.

And out rolled a teeny tiny mouse.  {dead of natural causes}

I guess he knew that, if he couldn’t survive our big scary basement all on his own, he might as well find a cozy spot to curl up in:   the blanket belonging to a tender-hearted boy.

Being a man with a tender heart can be really hard sometimes, but it can also be the most beautiful of times. – Anonymous

My Dad was a tender-hearted man, too,  so fostering that quality comes naturally to me.  Was that trait fostered in your family?

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Categories: Animals, Family, Growth, Life, Men, Uncategorized | Tags: | 22 Comments

On Sleep

During the week, on these crisp autumn mornings of late, I dream of sleep.

I dream of sleep that lingers and languishes, the kind where dreams slip in and dance across your thoughts. Sleep that soothes and restores. The kind that’s not compartmentalized.

But .. the weekend arrives and I find myself up with the birds. Every. Single. Time.

As much as I try to sleep in, I just can’t seem to do it.

Occasionally, a nap finds its way to me and that offsets the weariness. But in the day-to-day craziness that is my work world right now, sleep is a commodity I fiercely protect.  The problem is that if I go to bed too early, I wake up far too early also. If I go to bed too late, I feel the grog all day long.  Ugh!

So, again today, I was up and at ’em bright & early – long before the sun had appeared.  Laundry – done.  Dishes – done.  Soon, we’re off to brunch with my Father-in-Law & Aunts/Uncles, we’ll stop stop at the grocery store for a few essentials and then later tonight comes a Halloween Party – yeah!

Maybe I’ll sleep in tomorrow. 🙂  But then again, probably not.

What’s your sleep routine? Are you a weekend early bird like me? Do you have a love/hate relationship with your alarm clock?  Have you ever day-dreamed about sleep?

..me & the Hubbs a few years back; We had a lot of fun with this costume!!

..me & the Hubbs a few years back; We had a lot of fun with this costume!!

Categories: Beauty, Growth, Holidays, Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

How to pray for someone you can’t stand

I’ve been working on this post for a while now. Twice I’ve written it and twice it’s disappeared.  I suppose it wasn’t ready for prime time just yet.

I know the title is a grabber, but I haven’t been able to wordsmith it any softer than that.

I cringe at the title and I’m the one who wrote it!

But yesterday I found myself thinking {again} about someone I can’t stand to be around. To know. To have any association with.

I have tried. For years. To no avail.

What is it, you ask?  Well, it’s a mix of many things and there’s a list as long as my arm.

At first, I thought things would be better off if I just prayed for them. I thought it would help me if I asked for mercies on their behalf. I thought and I thought and I thought … wrong.

Turns out, whenever I tried to pray for them, I just got madder.

Ornery. Downright unreasonable.

Why?

My heart wasn’t in it.  My heart just couldn’t get past the betrayals, the hurts, and that list … as long as my arm.

So, in desperation, I tried something new: I prayed that He might change them.

You can guess how that turned out.

Finally, I started to wonder if this person might be in my path for a reason.  And apparently I am supposed to learn something from them even if, for the life of me,  I don’t know what that is!

which one is it?

which one is it?

And then, after another restless night’s sleep, came clarity:  Trust in Me.

Huh, who’d have thought that the one needing prayer the most .. was the one saying them!

When Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive someone who has sinned against us, he was thinking that maybe seven times was enough. Jesus answered him, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22).

Tell me, how do you cope with hurtful people in your life?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Growth, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Beautiful people

Traveling this week for business, I found myself tossed into a sea of humanity.

Rolling suitcases. iPhones & ear buds. Cell conversations continuing as doors are closed. Electricity charging areas in airport waiting rooms.  Subtle manners not consistently displayed.

Standing in line, I noticed something consistent in every airport I waited: no one looked at each other, everyone looked down …thumbs moving.   All this technology connects us yet people seem more isolated than ever.  ~sigh~

And then there she was.

An older lady, traveling alone, looked me in the eye and smiled as she took the seat next to me in Detroit.

photo source: telegraph.co.uk

photo source: telegraph.co.uk

Heading home to St. Louis, she’d been in Boston, visiting a daughter who doesn’t come home much anymore.

Her husband, too frail and fearful to travel these days. Her son, picking her up when the plane lands. Her stories.

About the longing in her voice when she talked of the pace of the trip, wiping away her tears as she cautiously stated they’d not seen much of each other in the five days she’d been there.

About how she really didn’t go to be a tourist, she went to see her. To be with her. To know her.

I couldn’t help but think about my Mom and the times I’ve traveled to see her.  Some of our best times have been in the absence of others.  I thought of the  laughter, our meandering conversations, and the complete lack of schedule – on purpose.

We got off the plane and I walked with her until I spotted my colleagues; she stood there, small and quiet and a little bit lost. So I did the only thing I could think to do: I hugged her.  She hugged me back like I was hers and it was in that very moment that I wished Sally’s daughter in Boston could understand that Mothers don’t just come to visit.  They come to matter.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 : : :

Today marks 3 years as a Word Press Blogger!  You can read my first post, “Who’s the Turkey?” here

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Like that

I lifted this list from a previous post because I saw a trend of mine in there … the words “like that.”

1.    Some of you know that I hold citizenship in both Canada, my birthplace, and in the United States, my home. What you don’t know is that every time I go through customs, it’s all I can do to hold it together.  When an Immigration Agent says, “Welcome home” at either border, I blink back tears, every time.  I’m patriotic like that.

image from photos.igougo.com

I love this land. Image from photos.igougo.com

2.     I love to read and always have a book at my side.  But I get ornery when authors leave me hanging with a poor plot line or a dismal ending.  I will finish a book I’m not enjoying but won’t visit that author again. They don’t know this, or care, but I do. I’m stubborn like that.

Great book!!  image from goodreads.com

Now this is a book I’d read again and again. ~Wonderful!~ image from goodreads.com

3.     I bake goodies and give them away; chocolate does little for me.  Potato chips?  Different story.  Potato chips take me back to summer nights in a backyard tent, reading comic books with my cousin, telling stories and plotting our next great pony-riding adventure. I’m quirky like that.

oh yeah!

oh yeah!

4.     I love going to the airport.  I can cry watching someone else’s reunion.  I’m sappy like that.

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales; an emjayandthem photo

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales make me cry, too; an emjayandthem photo

5.     The older I get, the less I care what people say and the more I watch what they do. I’m seasoned like that.

photo source: watch-roseanne-online

“Seriously?” photo source: watch-roseanne-online

6.     I try not to look back unless the view is really worth seeing.  I’m determined like that.

The day our own Royal Princess arrived - baby MJ!  (an emjayandthem photo)

The day our own Royal Princess arrived – baby MJ! (an emjayandthem photo)

7.     No matter how big or tall or experienced they become, my boys will always be mine and I pity the fool who dares hurt them. Yep, I’m a Mom like that.

This is how I mother. Get over it. google.images

This is how I mother. Not apologizing!  google.images

I’d love it if you shared 7 things about yourself “like that.”

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Gratitude, Home, Opinion, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Baking up some No-bakes

There are cookies that you bake. And cookies that are bars.

And cookies that you layer up in silly little jars.

There are cookies that crumble and cookies that are crisp.

And then there are “no bakes,” the cookies with a twist!

Sometimes known as “boiled oatmeal cookies,” in my house we just call ’em “no bakes.”

Hubbs remembers these as part of Friday lunches at school; when he talks of the memory, his smile reaches to his eyes, the way Frank used to smile while  getting his belly rubbed. Other friends recall these as an after-sports treat.  However you get them, they’re ooey-gooey-chocolately-creamy-and nuttery-delicious.

Quick, easy, and rather impossible to resist. Ready?

Here’s what you need to bake “No Bakes:” (shh no baking involved)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter – crunchy or smooth – your choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • waxed paper

Directions:  In a saucepan over medium heat, mix sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Stir slowly and bring to a steady boil — allow to boil (while stirring) 1 minute.  Tip: don’t short-change the time, the cookies will not set later on.

Once boiled, remove pan from heat and quickly add peanut butter & vanilla – stir to melt/mix. Next, pour in oats and nuts, stirring well.  The mixture will start to firm up as everything cools.

Spread a long sheet of waxed paper on your counter top and drop the cookies by tablespoon onto the waxed paper.  You could make them smaller if you wished but …. really?  Why?

Let stand at least 1 hour to cool.   Store loosely covered or in the fridge.

Ever had a "no bake?"

Ever had a “no bake?”

Categories: Family, Food, Home, Recipes, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Left-handed oven mitts

Growing up, nonsensical comments were not encouraged. My parents were patient to a fault and it wasn’t them who critiqued and threw out the put-downs: it was older siblings and elder cousins who did that.  Opinions, if offered, better be well thought out, researched and intelligent. Or else.

Yes, I learned, early on, that open ended questions, ponderings and musings were best kept to myself.  Especially if they were on the silly or under-developed side.

Sharing thoughts openly was a sure way to get myself teased by the more worldly cousins and siblings.  Teased and labeled and branded as one thing:  s-t-u-p-i-d.

So it was with delight that I relate the exchange that took place in our kitchen  Monday night.

Back story: Youngest boy is taking college classes and working part-time at a local deli. He’s had his ups and he’s had his downs but, for the most part, he’s getting into the job and the classes and handling it all of it quite well.

So, in the midst of our crazy Saturday, came a phone call.  From him. When he should be at work.  Instantly, I went into my calm & focused Mother mode.

“Hi there. What’s that?  Why do you need that information? What do you mean you’ve had an accident?” said me.

In the smallest non-calm voice possible.

I could feel the color leave my face me as he told his Readers-Digest version.  Customers in a hurry.  Many orders. Working the slicer.  Thumb.  A lot of blood. Emergency room.

Oh geez, I thought. Visions of the worst overcame me.

But, he bounded in later that evening, with his Looney-tunes sized thumb, wrapped in layers of gauze and bandages, carrying his pain meds … and a sandwich.  Hey, the kid’s gotta eat;  we just had to smile.

As much as he tried to put us at ease, I’m not kidding when I say that thing  looks like a Halloween prop.  And changing the bandages has been daunting. Not because of the gore, but because of the pain.  His pain. That old parental adage rings true, “when they hurt, we hurt.”

Still, he’s managing and handling things in his matter-of-fact way and, somewhere in there, we have learned to let him.   Yes there’s a lot of discomfort, no there was nothing to stitch, yes there’s gonna be a doozy of a scar and no, he can’t work anytime soon.

So it is with a smile that I tell you this story and it goes as follows:

“Hey Mom, do we have any left-handed oven mitts?”

“Um .. no, flip it over.” 

“Huh, wouldja look at that!”

       *Laughter*

And with that laughter came something even better:  Relief.

Relief that he’s gonna be OK.

Relief because it could have been sooo much worse.

Relief that the only family he knows is one where it’s perfectly normal to ask about left-handed oven mitts.

The kid at 3; he's always been silly. Turns 20 next month

The kid at 3;  turns 20 next month.  Still silly.

How about you?  Can you relate?  Did your family encourage or squelch self-expression?

Categories: Attitude, Family, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

Why?

Last week was a good one, work-wise.  I got a lot accomplished,  and the highlight was the retirement of a long-term colleague.  8 hours in the car put me home late Friday night.  I caught up with Hubbs but soon found myself nodding off at 1o:00 p.m.  The best laid plans..

Saturday rolled in with a flurry of activities as we prepped the house for a college football-watching-party.  Gabbing with my pals, I didn’t see much of the game, but the food  and company were great. 🙂

Yesterday, I was up & at it early, buying groceries, doing laundry and cooking for the week ahead.

And here we are again, at Monday’s doorstep. I don’t know about you, but I need a day between Saturday & Sunday.

Have a great week, peeps!

Friday Monday

Categories: Family, Home, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Bombdiggity Do

The Devil loves it when people are miserable. Oh yeah, he lives for that.

He loves to see us whine, complain, gossip, and separate from each other.

He loves to destroy communities, countries and cultures.

Loves it.

Here’s something I’ve learned — if you’re someone who counts your blessings, suddenly you find yourself with more to count .. and those who are down and sad are drawn to that grateful, happy energy. They want some of it. The D doesn’t want them to have it, and therein starts the strife.

I say … shine on anyways.

Crank it up.  Let ‘er rip.

“This little light of mine .. I’m gonna let it shine…”

Ha!

Ha!

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, fear, Growth, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

A truly precious gift

burning bush in the yard

burning bush in our yard

“Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Today I am thankful for autumn colors, blue skies, a pumpkin spice latte and a drive long enough to savor all three.  What are you grateful for today?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Home, Quotes, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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