Monthly Archives: August 2014

They never considered that I might not say yes

So here’s the thing with family – most are great but there are some who aren’t nice or maybe they  are sometimes nice but consistently behave badly… which to me means they aren’t … all that nice. Anyways…

People like this use others.  They appear when they want something.  They bring nothing to the party but drama, troubles and tears.

I’ve made a conscious effort to rid my life of them.  None of the ridding has been done without reason. And, it’s taken years, but I no longer feel any obligation whatsoever.

Such a relative has re-surfaced and this time is manipulating an elderly auntie to do her bidding.  To weasel her way back into our lives.

Here’s a recap of a recent phone conversation between me and said auntie:

Her: “I saw so & so the other day and we were talking about how nice it would be for all of us to meet up for lunch … so she suggested I set it up.”

Me: “Oh .. thanks but no.”

Her: “Well she just really misses seeing you and it would sure be nice for me if we could all be together.”

Me: “Yeah … I hear what you’re saying but no.”

Her: “Well it won’t be till later this fall .. so you have time to think about it.”

Me: (getting angry) “OK, here’s the thing:  I don’t trust her, I don’t like her,  and I don’t want anything to do with her.   She’s sneaking around and using you to get to me. I’m sorry this is not the answer you hoped for but please hear me when I say, no, I’m not going. Ever.”

Her: “Well you just think on it and let me know.”

Me: “GAH!”

As trying as the conversation was,  I can smile now.

Why?  Because, once again, I’ve learned that saying no translates into a big, fat YES… for me.

 ~ ~ ~

My spidey senses are tingling!

My spidey senses were tingling and for good reason!

What’s your strategy for dealing with snakes? Run? Hide?  Stomp? 🙂


Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Random Five Friday – August’s end

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Let’s go!

1. I don’t know about you but it kind of felt like July left and September came early.  I was at the Capitol yesterday and could have sworn it was mid-September .. look at that sky!

perfect day for a walk; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

perfect day for a walk; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2.  Speaking of August, guess what’s ready at the Orchard down the road?  Guess what I’m making this weekend?

Fresh peaches and coffee w/cream... An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Fresh peaches with my coffee ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Peach Blackberry Cobbler ... an Emjayandthem (C) photo

I like to bake & take (i.e. take it somewhere else!)  Peach Blackberry Cobbler is going a Labor Day gathering … an Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.  Remember me talking about the Nutribullet?  I’m still using it – daily!  If you want a daily blast of nutrition and energy, check it out.  My new favorite morning smoothie recipe is 1/2 spinach + blueberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, chia, flaxseeds, cinnamon, fresh ginger and almond milk.  Creamy, a bit spicy and delicious.  Keeps me full till early afternoon and I swear I’m healthier.  We’ll see come cold & flu season.

image from

image from

4. I’m lucky I work with a lot of capable and talented people and, for the most part, I’ve successfully removed any energy vampires from my life.  But this is still good advice, don’t you think?


5.  Late last week, I noticed some activity along the back fence.  In the late day sun, I spotted a Momma cat lounging and two of her youngsters tumbling and rolling down the hill.  Cats!  And wild cats at that.  I think Frankie would have made friends with them and can picture them all lying in a pile together.  No I’m not taming them and no I didn’t put food out, either.  Don’t really need a yard full of skunks and raccoons!

cats in yard

Speaking of cats, this made me laugh — here’s # 6 for a Random 5 Friday. Happy day, all!

free kittens

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Random, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Super Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Well, we had a blast of sticky hot days with monsoon-like rain and now we’re headed to  Labor Day with cooler temps ahead ~ just in time for the office pot-luck today!

With the a/c roaring at the office, something warm and spicy sounded good to me so this is what I’m bringing.

If you’re a fan of southwestern flavor, of chicken and of soup, then this is a recipe for you. It’s super easy to make and only requires chicken + the following 7 ingredients.


only 8 ingredients! These 7 + Chicken - that's it!

only 8 ingredients! These 7 + Chicken – that’s it!

The ingredients are shown above but here’s the list for easy shopping:

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups or 1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie chicken but you could use canned.)

*if you are watching your sodium this may not be for you


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large sauce pot on the stove or crock-pot (slow cooker).
  2. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
  3. On the stove this will be ready to serve in ~15 minutes; in a crock-pot you should allow 1 hour.   (I prep in my office, plug it in, and share an hour later – happy times!)
  4. Serve with your favorite toppings:  strips of soft tortillas,  shredded cheese, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, onions etc.
Chicken Taco Soup -- yummy!  And Emjayandthem (C) photo

Chicken Tortilla Soup — yummy! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Like chili, this soup is even better the next day and it’s perfect for college football which starts  … this weekend :).

Happy cooking!

Categories: Blogging, Family, Food, Home, Joy, News, Personal, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 700 Friday

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Let’s Go!

1. Perusing old pictures recently, I found a few snaps taken inside the schoolhouse Dad attended as a boy.  In later years, that building was moved a half mile to Grampa’s farm and used as a “shop” (*garage).  I find it beautiful that, 70-some years later, the blackboard and cursive writing are still there.

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2.  Mom’s birthday was yesterday.  Smiling as we talked, I loved hearing how excited she is about her two sisters visiting soon.  When I commented that they’ll be having a “sleepover” she giggled and agreed.  Sisters and sleepovers go together whether you’re 8 or 84.

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me... having a Killian's in Branson, MO

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3. Remember Jerry, the relative I haven’t yet met but blogged about?  He came home from the hospital yesterday :).

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference. -Max Lucado

4. A newer friend asked me along to an outdoor concert this week.   “Yes” I said. “Sounds fun,” I said. And it was.  Keb Mo played some funky fun blues and when he gave us this song, “She just wants to dance,” well you gotta know we did.

5.  I have a few crowns.  Some of them need to be replaced.  Sigh – I know what that means…  time in the chair and no $$ to spare.   But this cartoon made me laugh.


And how was your week?  

*This is my 700th post in nearly 4 years of blogging.  My how time flies!

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Joy, music, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

On being loved and cared for

Here’s the thing about Facebook: you can re-connect with people who once upon a time were your schoolmates, pals, neighbors or cousins.  You can also connect with new ones.  This story is about the new ones.

Hubb’s Aunt kept telling me, “You should connect with Jerry, that’s me and your late-mother-in-law’s cousin. He writes daily posts that are so uplifting and hilarious. You would really enjoy him, Marilyn.”

And so I did.

And I found myself looking forward to his daily words celebrating sunshine and lollipops and looking for the good in every sunrise.  Of being thankful. Of praising our Creator.

And then he got sick.

And as a man I’ve never met recovers in a hospital bed a whole group of us rallied around him.

Posts appear on his “wall” about someone taking time to enjoy coffee on their deck that morning.

About reveling in the glory of a morning songbird’s trill.

Posts about finding sunshine and lollipops in unlikely places.

Posts about being thankful.  Posts of prayer – for him and his family.

Posts that he’s now able to read from his hospital bed when he’s allowed to peruse his Kindle.

And in his own way, that community he created, rallied together like a virtual church pot-luck.


That’s what being loved and cared for is all about, isn’t it?

“You and I are being guided, of this I’m certain. I no longer doubt that the Universe is constantly looking for ways to communicate with us and lovingly guide us to our highest good, our purpose, and our happiness. But we must pay attention – we must be open to listen with our hearts and to trust the synchronicities, chance encounters, songs on the radio, and random thoughts that gently cross our paths, knowing with bold assurance that we are always being loved and cared for. If you pay attention, you will soon come to realize that there’s a loving intelligence that seeks your highest good and happiness. Listen. Listen and trust that you are being guided. Listen as if the Universe itself were about to reveal the most wonderful secret; because it is.” – Frankie Perez

thankful morning

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Destinations, Karma and Ooga Chackas

I missed Random Five Friday because I was away on business so I’ll start today with some thoughts from this week.

1.  I attended a town hall meeting Thursday night. No big deal as I my job requires I do this from time to time.  I know my business and tend to over-prepare.  But it’s always daunting to walk through the doors of a place you’ve never been and feel a sea of eyes turn your way.   I met the folks who’d invited me, shook hands, passed out business cards and took a moment to steady myself.  As the meeting was called to order, the council did something I hadn’t experienced before.  Ahead of the “Pledge of Allegiance,”  the leader said an invocation.  The invocation was a prayer, and the person leading it asked for guidance and wisdom as they conducted the community’s business. He asked everyone to remember that while they’re community servants, they’re His servants first.   A steadying presence was with me and any worries I had just melted away.

sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go for it!

sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go for it!

2.   I was also asked to attend a Friday breakfast meeting with an influential Congressman.  Of course I said yes.  Up long before the 5:00 a.m. alarm, I couldn’t contain my excitement.  You see, we’ve met before, and we have a nice, easy rapport.   Walking into the meeting, I ran into a fellow I’ve been helping for some time now.  He and I had never met and while his circumstances are complicated, he’s pleased with the help I’ve provided and that experience changed his opinion of our company.  I beamed as he relayed that story to the Congressman.

Chance meetings?  They’re never chance and Karma is only bad if you are.

3. Driving to these new-to-me places,  I had the addresses printed out and the GPS tuned in.   But I still turned the radio down as I got closer … do you do that?  Funny.

I always do this.. you?


4.  At yesterday’s meeting, a lovely lady in charge of registering commented that she “loved my makeup.” I smiled and thanked her.  I couldn’t help but think that complimenting someone’s makeup is kinda like telling the cook she has a wonderful stove.  Well intentioned … but a bit of a misfire.   People are fascinating.

5. Youngest kid went to see the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” recently.  He’s a music lover like me and oftentimes finds the soundtrack of a movie as appealing as the show itself. I was prepping dinner when I heard a distinctive sound that took me back to 1974.   “Oooga Chacka Oooga Chacka” will do that to you.


And how was your week?  Do you believe in Karma?  Do you turn down the radio so you can “see”better, too?  Does that song make you think of dreamy B.J. Thomas?


Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Life, music, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

But if there’s love, dear

Oh there was love, poppet.

Just wish it would have been enough.  RIP RW.


Categories: Family, Grief, Life, Love, Men, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

One more

I was talking with oldest boy Saturday when the anger washed over me.

I verbalized my resentment at being skunked out of my last vacation day because of someone else’s emergency.

I get it. It’s part of the job.

Or is it?

Is it part of my job or is it always because another doesn’t – hasn’t – can’t – do theirs?

Yep, there it is.

But this isn’t new, it’s just more.

No one cares.

No one sees.

As long as the project gets done the powers that be won’t ask who did it.

And as we made plans to take the grand kids to a movie today, my boy asked a simple question:

Why don’t you take Monday then?

And so I did.

and there it is

and there it is.

Can you relate to this?  Whose load are you carrying that you’d like to leave by the side of the river?


Categories: Attitude, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

R5F and Vacation skids to a close

It’s Friday! It’s Random! It’s the last day of summer vacation – here we go!

1. These past 4 days off? Highly recommend it.  I read 1 book, took 2 naps, swam, went out, stayed in, rested, laughed and had a lot of fun.   Ended up working all day so today’s vacation time is going back in the vault for a later date.

2.  For a number of years I’ve worried about being highly allergic to morphine, iodine and latex.  I fear being unresponsive after an accident and somehow being administered all three – ugh.  Yes,  I knew I should wear a “Medic-Alert” item but never did because, well, they’re hideous and this girl is not about wearing ugly jewelry. But then I found this cool site called Lauren’s Hope where they make medical jewelry that’s individualized and fashionable.  Got my bracelet this week and not only am I stylin’, I feel better prepared for an emergency.  Check out my new bling below:

Super comfy!

Super comfy! visit to order

Love it!

Love it! 🙂

3.  I forgot how good fresh corn-on-the-cob tastes.   Butter, salt, a little pepper. Mmm-mmm good.

4. Took a ride up Route 66 this week – Hubbs and I ventured north for an overnight casino outing. Fun times and a trip we’ll repeat.   My tip? Play the penny machines, we made our ca$h last all evening and still came home with some – whee!

Michigan's Route 66, near Remus, MI

Michigan’s Route 66, near Remus, MI

5.  Speaking of “Route 66,”  here’s a rather peppy version of this classic song by “Asleep at the Wheel.”  Give it a listen, I’ll bet it gets your toes-a-tappin’ and you might feel like a road trip’s in order, too.

So, how was your week? 🙂


Categories: Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The foundation of a free society

Hubbs noticed it before I did: stacks of political mail – all addressed to me.  Multiple phone messages – left for me.  Campaign workers at door asking to speak – with me.

You see as a new citizen, as soon as I could vote, I did.

And I’ve not missed an opportunity to since being granted that privilege.

Yes, it’s a bit disconcerting that my voting record is accessible to the pollsters.

But then I think about how when I use my “frequent shopper card” at the grocery store some marketing guy somewhere knows what kind of dish soap I prefer, too.

I heard yesterday that only 30% of eligible voters are expected to turn out for today’s Primary.

Elections are the foundation of our free country, but they are only effective if you take part.

I believe that every vote counts and, for that reason, I’m headed to the polls now.

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”  ― Abraham Lincoln


Categories: Attitude, Elections, Gratitude, Growth, Life, News, Patriotic, Personal, Politics, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Summer’s delights

Late sunsets & early sunrises, cherries ready, pool’s waiting; sandals, skirts & pedicures. Patio nights and baseball on the radio.

Fresh everything, kids on bikes, neighbors in yards, and conversations over fences. 

Summer storms, fireflies, windows open, fans on, followed by a/c blowing. 

Road trips:  music up, windows down. 

Lake visits,  pie and supper outside. 

The scents of charcoal and sunscreen; the sights of flip-flops and golfer’s tans.  

And vacation that starts later today!

Summer – she doesn’t stay long. 

What do you love most about summer?


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Food, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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