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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Random 5 – Summer, strawberries and being pretty

It’s not Friday but it is time for 5 random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly. Ready? Set? Go!

1. I make my bed as soon as I get up. Every day. Not 10 minutes later, not an hour, right away.  Unless Hubbs is in it. Hard to make a bed up over someone 6′ tall.

VEGAS-WORLD-MARKET_3

I have nearly this many pillows on the bed.

2.   A Facebook friend told me joyfully that it’s only “6 months till Christmas!”  And that’s how people get themselves de-friended or – worse yet – punched!

google.images.com

Google.images.com

3.  Bought several quarts of Strawberries at the Farmer’s market earlier this week.  Not sure if it’s all the rain we got but these are some of the best I’ve ever had!!  I’ll eat till I can’t and freeze the rest. The fragrance? One word: Heavenly. My favorite birthday dessert was Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake:  tiny sweet berries picked fresh from the garden, hearty REAL rich whipped cream piled on top of a thick slice of Angel Food cake.  I have a mandate that you MUST drizzle some of the berry juice onto the cake and let it soak in and turn the cake pink.   The taste of summer – next to a burger off the grill or farm fresh corn on the cob, that’s about as good as it gets!

strawberries

Can you smell them?  Just heavenly!

4. Last weekend was my niece’s shower and my sisters and I giggled remembering how, in our day, a Bridal Shower was a social gathering and big time Ladies outing.  There was never an assumption that all of us could attend.  Oh no.  It was an afternoon or evening out for Mom, in her best dress, her hair curled up and her Avon lipstick on.  She’d always let one – not all three – of us girls go with her.  We all remember my middle sister pleading with Mom to let her go instead of another and assuring her she’d not get wet.  She probably did get to go after all, but what I remember most were Bridal showers in Church basements, tea in teapots, dainty squares on doilies and the privileged feeling of being included.

03-31-2012 12;26;57PM1

Showers were held in the basement of this United Church; the smell of Lemon Pledge and coffee percolating permeates my memories to this day.

5.   We have often heard someone described as pretty.  I love this definition even more:

pretty

Yes!

And how is your week going?  How were Bridal and Baby showers different when you were growing up?  What summer time fruit are you enjoying these days?  What are you pretty at?

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Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Cookie sales and fair pricing

I read about a school that held a bake sale promoting gender equality.  Boys were charged $1.00 and girls $0.77; a stark lesson to all that, in spite of progress made thus far, on average, women are paid far less than men, for the same job.

gender equality bake sale

Google.images.com

When I was promoted to Department Head several years ago, the disparity in pay was egregious.  I knew I’d been underpaid in the manager job I’d held for 4+ years and I was privy to the fact that my male colleague (with the same title and responsibilities) earned far more than I did. My male supervisor knew about it but wasn’t interested in doing anything to level the playing field. When it came time to make adjustments to the next level, you better believe I spoke up.  I’m happy to report I didn’t settle for $0.77, either.

On a similar note, we have potlucks at our office on a regular basis; the same three guys never bring anything but always enjoy multiple servings.  I think the price of cookies just went up. 🙂

“A woman is human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man. Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given. A woman is human.”  – Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you witnessed unequal treatment in the workplace?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Men, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Cancelled Subscriptions

It’s Friday – whew!  The past 3 weeks have been a blur but I’m home now (smile) and have the day off today (big smiles!).

1. The birds are chirping,  the sun is shining and coffee tasted especially good in my happy place this morning:

MJ's happy place (An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

MJ’s happy place (An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

2.  Had an appointment yesterday to have a spot on my forehead looked at lopped off.  The freezing hurt more than the biopsy. But, Skin Cancer has already made itself at home in my fair-skinned family and I’m not taking  any chances.  That little old(er)lady with the big floppy hat?  Yep, that’s me!

berry nice hat

3. Speaking of fruit, only two weeks till our Michigan cherries are ready!  I remember the summer that Mom and Dad took us (5) kids to visit our cousins in British Columbia.  The drive, through the Canadian Rockies and the Lower Okanagan Valley, took us right through orchard country.  Mom bought several cases of sweet Cherries and put them in the back window of the Oldsmobile where 5 Hooligans promptly took turns swiping them. Gulping them down secretly, thinking no one would know, would never suspect our cherry stained faces or fingers. Suffice it to say the road trip was delayed by frequent stops and stomach aches.  As an adult, my cherry-stained fingers take me right back to that summer. 🙂

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

4.  Tomorrow we’re treating my Father-in-law to brunch.  We’ll be joined by our boys and grands.  4 Generations gathered together over French Toast, Ham and eggs.  Multiple conversations, laughs, abundant cuteness and love.  Can’t ask for more.  ❤

Fathers_day_Special

5. Read this quote and it reminded me to cancel a few subscriptions and continue to seek out battery chargers!

“Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.”  – Steve Maraboli 

rocking horse warrior

Rock on, Warriors!  Google.images.com

And how was your week?  What summertime fruit takes you back to your childhood?   What subscription do you need to cancel?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Being thankful for doors that closed

When I look back at some of my career opportunities (and those that weren’t) I’ve learned to be grateful for closed doors.

Encouraging someone recently, I offered this, “You have to believe that you deserve a good life.  A happy, meaningful and beautiful life.  Every time the door closes is a test of faith; sometimes you won’t know till years later what was on the other side.  You just have to believe that He knows the plan for you and trust that it’s good.”   Tears filled my eyes as I said what I did and – truth be told – these words weren’t mine, someone gave me this message to share and I did.

We have all had times when the door closed — moments that, looking back, weren’t for you in the first place.  Dead-end jobs.  Bad people.  Relationships that suck the life out of you.

Like the faithful being led out of bondage, a shut door can be a metaphor for the closing of the Red Sea.  No more chains on us!

When this happens, yes sometimes I stare at the lock for a while. Other times I see things for what they are and give a prayer of gratitude for the people who rejected me, the superior who discounts me, the friend who slights me.  That’s when I dig my heels in and move forward anyways.  And I always find that, had I remained where I was, I would have missed where I am.

Every time He shuts a door, there is something better coming.  I’m sure of it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

shut the door

What closed doors are you grateful for?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Forgiveness, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Random 5 – Landmarks, Adventures, Immigrants and Connections

So I’m home for a few days before I blast off again (~sigh).  I enjoy what I do but I miss my home.  However, this is my “Triple Crown” week – the last of three with me traveling, yay! With that, here are my random observations over the past seven days:

1) Flying into Newark a week ago, I looked up from my book to take in a birds-eye view of One World Trade Center.  *Chills*.  The last time I was in the NY metro area, I was on a flight bound for Texas.  Oldest boy and I were moving with my job, Hubbs and I had fallen in love but were still just dating, albeit long-distance.  When I last looked out at that skyline …. our towers were still there.   And then, off to the right, I saw her – Lady Liberty.   And that new tower and her presence gave me comfort.

lady liberty

2. I’ve written a lot about saying YES to things I want to do – experiences, relationships, you name it.  First, I had to learn how to say “no,” and doing that helped me make space for more joy.  My flight got into D.C. early enough on Sunday that I had several hours to explore The Smithsonian Museums or stay in my room and work.  It didn’t take me long to head out into the throngs of people!

the count

Imagine my delight at discovering “The Count” at the Museum of American History? 🙂

3.  During a chat with a Senate staffer Tuesday a colleague and I were given passes to the Senate and House Galleries.   Several layers of security screenings later we found ourselves up in the Senate chamber watching votes being cast.  No pictures allowed and when I began jotting down names of Senators –  Stabenow, Peters, Paul, Franken, McCain, McDonnell, Feinstein and more …I felt a tap on my shoulder and a directive to stop writing.  Oops.  It was kind of like when you go on vacation, sometimes it’s best to just put the camera down and let your mind freeze frame the moment.  Later, as we exited the Capitol, we stepped out into a sea of K9 units, with barriers up and police officers everywhere — there had been a threat called in and the response was immediate.    This is a photos I was allowed to snap – Justice and History.    It’s fitting I think.

History and Justice sculpture_the Capitol

The sculpture Justice and History is located above the Senate bronze doors on the Capitol’s East Front. The draped female figures of Justice and History recline against a globe. Justice holds a book inscribed “Justice / Law / Order” in her left hand; her right hand rests on a pair of scales. History holds a scroll inscribed “History / July / 1776.”  source: http://www.aoc.gov

4.  We took taxis everywhere and I have a stack of receipts several inches high to show for it.  When the opportunity presented itself, I asked my drivers about their lives as I could tell most were immigrants.  I led with the fact I had been an immigrant once and sharing that opened the floodgates to conversation.  The countries they came from (Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria,  Zimbabwe) were different from mine but their story was not.  Many spoke of previous careers as engineers, scientists, and mechanics.  All spoke of their families, hopes, dreams and happiness at just being here.  If you ever find yourself disillusioned with the state of things, take a taxi ride with a Ghanian engineer who plays classical music while joyfully pointing out landmarks and incredulity at his “most lucky life.” -Direct quote.

taxi

5.  A highlight of the week was meeting my blogging friend Dianna and her husband, Motor Man, on Thursday.   Last year when I blogged about visiting D.C. she mentioned they lived nearby (a 3 hour drive!) and that she’d love to meet up.  I tucked that comment away and this year, as my trip approached, I made contact and soon plans were formed.  It’s difficult to put into words what our meeting meant to me.  First I have to share Hubbs’ commentary: “You know this is how people go missing and end up dead, right?”  The same man who champions my work successes and pushes me to get in there and “show those boys how it’s done” was convinced meeting strangers was a terrible idea.  I couldn’t believe they were going to drive all that way for little old me!  And, when thinking about it, the only ones who ever had were: 1) Hubbs, 2) my sissy and 3) my cousin.

When I saw Dianna’s smiling face, we both rushed to share a hug and then another and maybe even a tear or two.  Over lunch, and in between a host of stories,  I spoke of Hubbs’ trepidation and her hubby teased “text him and tell him you’re in the trunk!” HA!   The conversation flowed, laughter came easily, and we talked about our backgrounds and updates on our lives and families.

Why did I make the trek to meet with people I don’t know? Here’s the rub: I did know.  I know, through her blog, that she is a loving wife to him and Momma bear to her son and others she cares for.  I know, through her encouraging words to me and others, that she is a kind and caring person.  I know, through our shared experiences and easy camaraderie, that she is someone with whom a soul connection just comes naturally.  Sometimes you just know and this was one of those times.

dbmj3-6-11-2015-12-39-28-pm1

Dianna & me. “Soul connections are not often found and are worth every bit of fight left in you to keep.” -Shannon L. Alder

And how was your week?  What have you said YES to lately?  Have you ever made a soul connection in an unusual way?  When was the last time you took a risk and how did it turn out?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Friendship, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

R5F – Peonies, memories, crimes & attitudes

It’s Friday and time for 5 random happenings and observations from my world.

1.  My Lilacs have come and gone but look who is making their grand debut?

100_2366

Frankie loved the peonies and his ashes are scattered here. Seeing them bloom makes me smile and long for my silly old dog.

2. Last night we ran the dishwasher, a routine task done a few times a week.  It’s normally filled with plates, silverware and coffee cups.  Youngest boy put a large sauce pot in the lower tray upside down.  Reading quietly in the next room I heard a sound I couldn’t quite identify and then it hit me:  the spray of water hitting the bottom of that pot reminded me of milking cows as a little girl.   With 5 kids we always kept one or two milk cows and Dad would let us “help.”  More often than not we tilted Bossie’s *ahem* appendages in such a way that the barn cats got both a milk shower and a good drink and we probably spilled more than we didn’t.  Dad let us learn anyways.  Memories come to us in the most random of ways don’t they?

milking cows

3. I recently bought a “Fitbit” – a nifty little bracelet that works as a pedometer and tracks your sleep.  (You can track other things, too, but those are the ones I was interested in.) The first day I wore it was a Saturday and, between laundry, groceries, and yard work, I clocked 6 miles.  I slept well that night – 7 hours with 8 minutes of restlessness.  I really wanted it for my D.C. trip next week because we walk so much, up and down stairs in the Capitol office buildings.  Did you know that tunnels connect these buildings?  They’re clean and well-lit, but old as time.  I always feel a bit like Desmond in “L.O.S.T” in there … freaky.   Oh and elevators are reserved for Members when Congress is in session. That means I’ll be hoofing it to everything — in heels. And yes, I think I’ll sleep well every night :).

"See you in another life, Brotha."  -L.O.S.T.

“See you in another life, Brotha.” -L.O.S.T.

4. This week my job took me to the Michigan State Capitol – the day we were there happened to be “Older Michiganians Day” which meant we had a steady stream of older folks touring the building and sometimes stopping to ask us questions.  Everything was fine until two ladies came through and brazenly swiped several handfuls of cookies. Right in front of us.  With a look in their eyes that said, “whaddyagonnadoboutit?”  We looked at each other incredulously and shook our heads.  People are fascinating! And that day I clocked 7.8 miles – in heels!

old_lady11

Not this colorfully dressed but with just as much ‘tude

5. Jumping back to the Fitbit I also got it because, when I’m in the office, I’m aware I don’t move much.  It was shocking to me that, by noon yesterday, after a morning of conference calls, I hadn’t yet hit 2,000 steps.  That served as a powerful motivator to get in a workout!   On the treadmill last night, thinking about all I have to do before I fly out Sunday, this song came on and I knew it had to be shared:

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer… You’re an overcomer!

Happy Friday, folks!  What sound take you back to your childhood? Tried any neat gadgets lately?  Ever witnessed Senior crime?  What are you working hard at overcoming?

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fun, Humor, Joy, Life, music, Patriotic, Politics, Products I love, Share, Technology, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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