Monthly Archives: February 2015

Random 5 Friday – at last

It’s Friday! Time for 5 random thoughts from the mystical, magical mind of MJ.   Or something like that…

1. It’s Friday, Friday, Friday!!!   Just finished a LONG couple of days in meetings with our new corporate Exec.  The sessions were intense with questions,  charts, maps, background info, and a data dump.  Holy cow, even I am sick of those charts and numbers BUT I am also energized because both my team and I knocked it out of the park.  Nothing feels as good as 1) knowing what you know 2) knowing what you don’t and 3) being able to let someone else lead, too.    Never met the man before but he’s sharp, shrewd, ethical and fair.  That’s the kind of Leader I can get behind!

Lots of "take aways" but it's all good - whoop!

Lots of “take aways” but it’s all good – whoop!

2.  The morning of the first day’s meetings I was getting the last of my things packed and decided to groom my eyebrows.  You know, ’cause that’s what you should do when you’re nervous: wield something sharp.   Now, as I’ve gotten older, eyebrows have started growing weirdly and nobody wants some Andy Rooney’s looking back at them in a meeting.   Well you can just imagine what happened: yes, I lopped off the corner of one.  It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good, either.  I did the only thing I could think of: set it down and laughed out loud.  Thank goodness for eyebrow pencils and make up tricks learned in the drama club.  Hubbs about died laughing at that story last night and I do telling it.   🙂

3.  Right after that moment I read this quote and felt myself relax.  I gave that girl a few pats on the back for all of her hard work to-date, told her to rock n’ roll and then off I went.

Try it .. it works.

Try it .. it works.

4.  At dinner the first night, our new leader asked each of us about ourselves so he could get to know us better:  favorite movie, music, our background, how did we get to the company we work for, do we have a family, etc.   Everyone took their turns and the information shared was both revealing and interesting, making for great conversation, laughs and side conversations. I watched him artfully do this and thought, “nice work.”  In all the years I’ve worked at this company no one in leadership – not one – had ever done this.   Around the table we went – and when we all finished I realized no one had asked him.  So I did.  And as his eyes met mine and he began to talk about his career, family and interests I took my very first lesson.  Nice.

how people feel

5.  My regularl readers know I’m more of a reader than a movie watcher but when asked to share a movie I turned to the table and said, “Shrek because who doesn’t love Donkey?”  The table roared, he got a glimpse into my personality, and it was all good.

How about you? How was your week?  Ever had a grooming mishap?  If asked these questions, what would you share?  What Shrek character is your favorite?

Happy Friday, peeps!




Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

In the way

* originally published June 2011

“Your most challenging relationship is often your greatest teacher.” – Unknown

Do you have someone in your life whose habits or personality force you to speak up for yourself?

To find your voice and speak your truth?  Someone who keeps you on your “A-game?”

You know who I’m referring to because you can picture them now and you’re nodding your head in agreement.

You prepare for interactions.  You anticipate their next move and you might even rehearse conversations.

You’ve gone to battle with them –  in your head.

Again and again, I’m reminded that the people who frustrate me most are the ones who have the most to teach me.

Their behavior flashes like a mirror in the sunlight– and creates opportunities for self-reflection.

The loud reinforce the power of a softly spoken word.

The pushy make me ask myself, “what are we rushing to and why do I care?”

The needy give me pause to ponder my own needs and if I’m expressing them.. or not.

The thoughtless remind me to make thoughtful choices.

And the selfish serve as a reminder of everything I don’t want to be.

They’re in our way for a reason, I think.   Sometimes I can see the lessons; other-times they are seen years later.

If it takes the sand irritating the oyster to produce a pearl I ought to have a jewelry box full by now!

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Whose behavior makes you more conscious of your own? What have you learned from dealing with a challenging personality?


Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Growth, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Random February Friday

It’s Friday! Whoop! Time for 5 Random thoughts:

1. Why do weather people insist on telling us the “feels like” temperature?    You know what -10 feels like to me?  It feels like stay inside and stop telling me about how cold it is, that’s what it feels like.



2.  Michigan people can (usually) handle winter with a steady does of good humor.   Blowing, drifting snow, sub-artic temps, record snowfall?  We come up with stuff like this:


Ha, ha, ha!

3. Hoping to see the Grands this weekend; between the weather and their winter flu bugs and colds, our schedules haven’t worked out.  Here’s a snap from our last outing.  Silly ones, yes we are.

MJ & the Hooligans; an Emjayandthem(C) photo

MJ & the Hooligans; an Emjayandthem(C) photo

4. Saw this recently and nodded my head in agreement:

5.  It’s Friday and time for a Date Night with the Hubbs!!   Although it would be fun to get out, it’s still bitterly cold and neither of us wants to deal with that so tonight will likely look something like this:

beer & pizza


And how was your week?   Are you sick of winter yet?  Any fun plans for tonight or the weekend?  Do you silently mouth “what the?” on a regular basis?


Categories: Faith, Family, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Men, Personal, Random, Relationships, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Two for (Fat) Tuesday

Care to play along?  On Tuesdays, pick a topic and segue into it!

Care to play along? On Tuesdays, pick a topic and segue into it!

It’s Fat Tuesday – whoop!

Mardi Gras wasn’t as celebrated in my part of Canada that I can recall ~ I mean, we watched TV coverage of festivities from far-away places like New Orleans and such, but I had no experience with the Cajun culture, except for certain songs played at weddings. I’ll come back to that.

All of that changed when I met a man who became the best boss I ever had (no seriously, ever).  He was (and is) highly intelligent, incredibly educated and a self-described “Crazy Cajun” from Lafayette, Louisiana.    When he landed at our company’s world headquarters in southern CT, well let’s just say he shook things up a little. In meetings he’d say things like, “that dog don’t hunt.”  Once, I grinned at him and replied (after the meeting of course), “that dog doesn’t even rise up off the porch!” I never saw a man laugh as hard as he did and that was it – we had an instant connection. He was a breath of fresh air – especially to those of us so used to a stiff and stoic corporate culture.  As the new year dawned and he made a deal (of course he did!) with our company Chef for a Mardi Gras party, I knew right then that this was someone who was not only easily respected but easily liked because he was just so much fun.

File gumbo.  Crawfish  & crab Etouffee.  And of course, Zydeco music.

When I was a wee girl and we’d get to attend family weddings, certain songs would be played and those songs had a French origin. I think they were called “Chatisses” but I have yet to find a link to share with you.  All I know is that when the accordion or the fiddle started, we’d tap a toe, grab a partner and dance, dance, dance.   So it was really no surprise when I learned that the Acadia region of Canada and northern USA where Cajuns trace their origin was in areas where Nova Scotia (and other Maritime provinces) as well as parts of Quebec and northern Maine are now. In Louisiana, Cajuns developed their distinct dialect, Cajun French, and a lively culture devoted to family, music and cuisine.

It’s no wonder he and I always got along: He’s my brother from another mother!

How about you? Have you ever danced to Zydeco? Eaten fresh-made Etouffee?  Met someone from a place far away who just felt like they were known to you?

Happy Mardi Gras!


Don't do anything you'll regret!

Don’t do anything you’ll regret!




Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Fun, Holidays, Life, Men, music, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Friday the 13th, Random 5 and 50 Shades

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 random thoughts (not 13!)

1. Two road trips this week and I always notice things alongside the highway.  There’s the usual – a tire, a deer, maybe some garbage.  What gets my attention are the shoes.  There usually is only one and it’s often upright, like someone stepped out of it.  Weird.

2.  There’s a movie opening today based on a book involving grey ties.   Did I ever tell you that Mom bought me that book for my birthday years ago?  She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it but I think she did it to scandalize me and my sister … and it worked.    The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my sister’s daughters and the looks our boys shot my way were well worth it.  Maybe that was Mom’s point, to stir things up a little, and to remind us that we always have a choice.  God, I love her.  The book series itself?   Definitely mature reading but in there lies a love story –and how the love of a good woman can repair and restore even the most damaged man. It’s a story as old as time and romance novels sell well for that reason.  Oh, and here in Grand Rapids, there’s a local man running a petition to stop theaters from showing the movie: the petition has 2,000 signatures.  Impressive except for the fact that 9,000+ advance tickets have been sold.   I’m probably not seeing the movie but that fact makes me snicker.

3. Here comes Valentines Day! Earlier this week Hubbs was over-scheduled and racing around like he tends to do.  I had some extra time that morning so I left for work, made a stop, and swung back by the house with breakfast in hand.  The look on his face?  Absolute delight.   Why wait for 2/14 to show love for the one you love?

You're the best!

Happy Valentines Day!

4.  I’m off to the Dentist for more crown restoration.  Yes – dental work on Friday the 13th – nothing could go wrong with that, right?

5. Driving yesterday I came across a tune from years back.  Do you remember 867-5309 or “Jenny” by  Tommy Tutone?

*867 was the phone exchange in the town where I attended High School. Never knew anyone named Jenny though.


How was your week?  What are your Valentines Day plans?  Going to see any new movies? Know anyone named Jenny?

related:  No gates, no locks, no chance

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The nose of the mind

I’ve written a lot about instincts and intuition and trusting your gut.

I trust mine and I rely on it often, with people I’ve known forever and those I’ve just met.

Recently my job has taken me out into the public a lot more; I love that.    It can be daunting at times: I never know what I’ll get but that’s the part I enjoy the most ~  I’m prepared for anything and often experience just that.

Yesterday was one of those days.

It was a meeting I had second thoughts about attending.  There was a small part of me that thought “ahh .. it’s the same old message and the same old people and you have many other things to tend to.”  But something told me to go anyways.  And so I did.

Driving through the countryside, past houses, farms and fields, I felt myself relax.   Looking across the crusty wind-shaped snow, I counted the pivots.  The pivots took me back to where I grew up, where massive pivot systems run in circles and water is piped up from rivers and reservoirs across the dusty prairie.

When I arrived at the meeting place, one of the first people I saw was The Grizzly Bear.  I’ve written about men like him before, and I run across many on a regular basis: they’re often older than me, experienced, opinionated. Many like to hear themselves talk and be the voice of authority. Others are gracious and welcoming.  Some – not so much – that’s fine, there’s room for all of us.

Instead of taking my seat I took a chance and approached the Grizzly.  Quietly I asked him about the pivots.  His look told me what I knew he’d assumed all along:  that I was just some city girl out in the country where she doesn’t belong.  I explained that I grew up on a farm and we had pivots, too. Then I inquired as to their water source because I hadn’t seen any large bodies of water around.  These simple questions opened a floodgate of information my way and before the meeting began, the unthinkable happened: he smiled at me.

The meeting started and questions from the crowd soon followed.  I answered and took notes and did my best to manage the information flow.  His posturing was still there and maybe it always will be. But, for once, it was no longer directed at me.

Instinct is the nose of the mind.” -Delphine de Girardin



Have you ever felt a “nudge” about someone or something?  Do you listen to it?

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Sound effects required

It’s not that I hate Mondays it’s just that I love the weekends so much more. Have a great week, folks!


Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Random February Friday Five

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts from my corner of the world!

1.  On a regular basis I wake up in the night with at least 600 things running through my head.  Think I could remember them now?  Nope, not a one.

three am

2. Friday is to the week like bread is to butter.  Speaking of, made Hubbs his favorite casserole earlier this week:  “Poor Man’s Chop Suey” – he had plate after plate of it, with a side of bread and butter, and a big ole smile plastered across his face.  As much as he watches what he eats, when a meal like this “magically” appears, he plows in like he’s been clearing a forest all day with his bare hands. And the comments of appreciation thrown my way make my hair curl ~ somethings really are that easy.

Poor Man's Chop Suey

Poor Man’s Chop Suey

3.  Heading out on a road trip today – yay!  The weather is cold and clear, there’s no snow in my future and I predict random song singing all the way to my meeting place. 🙂

amen to that!

amen to that!

4.  Hubbs and I were invited out for dinner tonight.  There’s something very nice about being on the receiving end of an invite.  Even if you don’t go, it’s just nice to be asked, you know?  But we’re going and I’m glad.  Whee!

5. There are many heart-wrenching causes out there in the “GoFundMe” world —  and, as much of a softie as I can be, I’ve yet to contribute to one. Guy Wolfe is a blogger I follow because of his sincere faith and beautiful writing -he’s served as an inspiration to me more than once when my world felt less than inspired.  He recently wrote of a tragic turn of events in his world – and the HOPE {Hold On Pain Ends} he’s experienced since.  I felt compelled to ask how could I help?    He told me and I did.  Would you?  More info here.


John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”

And how was your week? Do you wake with a “to-do” list at 3:00 a.m. that magically disappears in the morning?  Is there a favorite dish your spouse or loved ones just love?  Do you say yes to road trips as often as you can? Have you ever given money to someone’s “GoFundMe” site?   Are you the inviter or the invitee in social situations?

Categories: Beauty, Charity, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, music, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Just a closer walk

Growing up, we went to church on a regular basis.  Sunday School, choir, Christmas concerts, confirmation classes, you name it.

When getting ready on Sunday mornings, Mom always had the local country radio station on in the background.

So when I hear an old Gospel classic from days-gone-by, I’m transported back to shining pews with the lingering scent of Lemon Pledge, wearing my Mary Jane shoes and skipping towards the faces of dear ones who’ve long since left us.  And with the right song, that feeling can happen right in my kitchen.

my hometown church; it's closed now

my little hometown church; it closed years ago


Did you listen to Gospel music growing up?  What Hymn takes you home to the Church of your childhood?

“There is a sound that comes from gospel music that doesn’t come from anything else. It is a sound of peace. It is a sound of, ‘I’m going to make it through all of this.”~ Yolanda Adams


Categories: Faith, Family, Joy, Life, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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