Monthly Archives: August 2015

Don’t forget to live

So, like you, we’re busy.  Busy, busy, busy.  Work- busy. Kids-busy. Social life-busy.  One big bunch of busy buzzing bees.   And I don’t know about you, but I’m a little sick of how busy we are.  Just talking about it is getting boring.


Wah! I don’t have time …

Look around: it’s like a new badge to claim– can you multi-task, what are you missing to be here with me, what else is going on, what? What?  But what are we busy at? Being busy?

I’m not on call. But I feel like I am.  I’ve worked hard at keeping boundaries, doing the job, without being accessible 24/7.  But I still catch myself being one of those people checking emails, responding after hours, and feeling like I can’t ever get caught up. Like trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack, the volume just never … slows.

So when I feel the margins of life closing in, I push back and re-assess. Sometimes it takes nothing more than the “mental” escape  a good book can bring. Other times, more drastic action is needed.   So with that, later today, I’m signing off. Shutting down. Hopping  up into the Jeep with my brown-eyed handsome man, cranking up the tunes and headed to points north.  I’m laughing till my sides hurt, kissing my honey, and living in the moment.

vacation next exit

Road trip? Yes!


Make time in your day life for:

  1. Situations that make you laugh, including yourself
  2. People who make you smile
  3. Your favorite foods
  4. Music you want to sing along to
  5. Curling up with a book
  6. Loving on the one you love
  7. Friendship
  8. Good company and conversation
  9. Furry friends
  10. Joy


“In the midst of a busy life don’t forget to live.” ― Marty Rubin

And we might just play this game along the way:


Can you relate? When you feel your margins getting smaller, what do you adjust?


** Thanks to DM for gifting me with the “margins” reference — Now that I think of it, I always used to draw in mine. 🙂




Categories: Family, Growth, Home, Men, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Random 5 Friday – between you and me

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts from my world.  Ready? Let’s go.

1. 90 Sunday, 70 Thursday, down in the 50s overnight.  It felt like Fall outside and winter in the office (a/c blowing!) Between you and me, if the 90s don’t come back again this year, that’s fine .. give me the sunny, dry stuff any day!

4 seasons of weather

2. It’s been a whirlwind week at work and the next few months look to be the same.  Hubbs and I scheduled a little “getaway”  starting mid next week but we’ve also discussed “hanging around the shanty” instead.  Between you and me, it wouldn’t break my heart to stay put and cool our jets.

and there it is

and there it is

3. “Met” my new boss yesterday.  Sharp, accomplished, and organized .. and in another state.  Between you and me, I like what I hear.  The person who chose him is a leader I admire: if he picked him, we’re in good hands.  Whoop!

“I won’t put “good” in front of leadership; it is or it isn’t.”Georgette Sullins   (Amen said the choir!)

4.  Mom has not been feeling the best and, between you and me,  I’m worried about her.  I know she rallied everything she had to go to my niece’s wedding; I also know how much fun we had together,  saw how big and steady her smile was, and knew she wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.  Those memories comfort me when worry spins out of control.

Mom & I watching the SK football game 3 weeks ago. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Mom and I taking a football-game watching selfie. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5.  Something I love about Facebook is that I can see snaps from my home province via a photo group.    Debbie Young took this photo of Aurora Borealis dancing over my Saskatchewan sky.    It’s so dreamy that, between you and me, just looking at it makes me a farm kid all over again.

debbie young aurora borealis saskatchewan


So, between you and me, how was your week?

Categories: Faith, Family, fear, Growth, Home, Love, Mom, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Release me

*this is an update on a post from January 7, 2012  

Picture yourself standing on a dock and everything you want to release from your life has been placed into a small boat; picture yourself untying the boat from its moors and giving it a gentle push.  Picture the boat floating away and, with it, all that you want to be rid of.

* * *


I’ve released relationships that drain my soul and pull me down; I’m responsible for me, not them.

I’ve released my need to say yes to everyone but myself and learned “no” is not a four letter word.

I’ve released old habits and opened the door to new. I’ve made room for wonder, splendor, excitement and creativity.

I’ve released fears about what’s to come and trust what Mom always said: I’m more than capable of handling whatever comes my way.

I’ve released my tendency to give it all away; I’ve learned not everyone deserves some of what I’ve got.

I’ve let it go.

Get back here boat, I want to get in, along with my three traveling companions: joy, hope, and happiness.

* * *

“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where’s your boat?”
“I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident. It all depends.”
“Depends on what?”
“On whether I’m on the top of it or underneath it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

* * *

What will you place in your boat? Will you load it up and push it away?  Will you get in? 


Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random Summer Sunday

It’s a steamy summer Sunday and here are 5 random thoughts from my world:

1) A few months ago I attended a workshop and the homework assignment was to ponder the answers to 3  questions: 1) what’s the greatest risk you ever took and how did it turn out? 2) How do you define passion? and 3) What’s your big “Super Hero” dream – i.e. what does “next” look like?  The first two questions were easy to answer (more at On Saying Yes )  But #3 had me stumped and, in the absence of one “big” vision, I realized I wanted to say YES to things I really want to do. I had worked hard to say “no” without guilt – all to make room for Yes’s.   Here’s an update on my plan: Yesterday, at a lake gathering, despite my fearful and fluttering gut, I said “yes” to getting in the middle of 3 on a Jet ski.  I yelled so much and laughed so hard that I said “yes” again – only this time on the back. Bouncing along the lake like a flag we all laughed and hollered and screamed so much that I was absolutely breathless when we returned to shore.  Others looked at me in astonishment – Hubbs with pride — my hair wrecked, my voice hoarse, but my face glowing with happiness.

What helped me say yes?  2 things:  A) I know the gal driving has a “need for speed” but she also loves me and would never put me in danger.  As we left the security of the dock, she turned back and said, “don’t worry I won’t go that fast,” and I answered with “Let ‘er rip” and she did. Whoo Hoo!   I don’t remember the last time I had that much fun.  The other?  B) the snarky look of another who was convinced I’d never go … ha ha, watch me sister!  Whoo Hoo!

jet ski

2) It’s steaming up to be a hot August day — 80% humidity, temps in the 90s.  I’m channeling my Grandma F. by cooking early while the sun is low.  The house smells amazing as pork chops and chicken bake – – and when they’re done and the kitchen is clean I’m headed to the pool with peaches, lemonade and books.  Hubbs is golfing and we’ll meet up later where he’ll surely bring up yesterday’s antics.   The perfect Sunday!

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

3. After Friday, I’m so looking forward to Monday! 🙂

no more rats4. Yesterday at the lake I hadn’t planned on going in the water, much less riding a jet ski.  So after the first run, my shorts and everything under them were drenched.  My friend, 6″ taller than me, loaned me some swim shorts while my clothes went into the dryer.  I pulled them on, twisted my tank top in a knot above my belly button, and rejoined the crowd.  Hubbs smiled and I laughed.  You see I dress pretty modestly and rarely does anyone else see me like that.  But it was a beautiful summer day and I’m not getting any younger and just when is a dose of radical silliness appropriate anyways?

“Oh my God, what if you wake up and some day you never got your memoir or novel written; you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big, juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like you did when you were a kid?  It’s going to break your heart.  Don’t let this happen.” – Anne Lamott

5.  Because of some family heart issues, I had a Cardiac Stress Test last week — and I kicked it to the curb. In thinking about it now, if they only knew how much this chick can handle they’d have cranked it up a little more!

helpless femate

P.S.  I’m just so happy! See # 3

What are you happy about today?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, fear, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

How a believer lost 250lbs in 1day

* This is a true story and not a weight-loss testimonial.

Once upon a time there was a hard-working donkey who worked steadily at meeting deadlines, helping others and getting things done.  Over time, her skills got attention and she found herself recruited for special projects on a pretty regular basis. And her workload grew.

donkey with heavy load

But that was OK because she was a sturdy donkey who could carry a lot – and, when no one was looking, she dreamed of a day when things might be better for her and the others in her group.  When he, her supervisor (otherwise known as the rat), would pick up his share of the work, listen to her ideas, and appreciate her efforts.  But that was not to be.

donkey with load man beside

He liked leaving her places.. and laughing about it.

But her star shone steadily anyways.  And he didn’t like it. Didn’t like it one bit.  And then one day a miracle happened – an opportunity appeared.  He told that he was moving up.  What about his spot, she asked? Could it be for her?  No, not for you, he snorted.  She couldn’t stop thinking of all the work she’d done – covering his 300+ absences over 5 years – and she knew she had to try.  She would get the work, that’s for sure, ought to at least try for the money. Sadly he didn’t support her, in fact, he lobbied for another donkey.   Still .. 4 interviews later, and with an armful of recommendations, she triumphed, the job was hers. He moved out, she moved in and brought her team up with her.   For one glorious year he was … off in the distance somewhere. But, as sometimes happens, a reorganization brought him back  to her again.

Say what?

Say what?

It was perfect! For him.

He was used to taking her ideas and packaging them up as his own.  How he loved to bring her along to meetings, not prepare and then throw her in at the last-minute.  Once again. Once again. And every time a deadline approached he’d have yet another illness.  Some real. Some imagined. Yet again. Yet again.  And for a while, the donkey, well,  she felt defeated.  Betrayed.  Hopeless. She plodded along the circle, even when it made her sick.   She didn’t sleep, she barely ate, dark circles took up residence under her eyes.   She cried, she railed, she prayed. Oh, did she pray.


“all I want for Christmas … is a break”

Meanwhile the rat prospered.  He worked to convince others what a great rat he was. How he had all these great ideas (hers), he got projects completed (hers), and, from the surface, it appeared he was one good rat. And he was.  He was very good at being a rat.

warren t rat american tail

And soon, the load grew again.   But this time, it was different. Something had changed.  She had grown, too.   The yoke no longer fit!! No longer dangling in the air she righted herself and when a much more Sr. Donkey asked her “how are you doing?” she looked him in the eye and she answered.  She squared her shoulders, stood in her truth and saw his gasp of horror.  He listened and she spoke and she heard his words of understanding.  Time passed and she figured maybe he was just one more Sr. Donkey who’d allow a rat in his midst. But she was wrong.

donkey up in air

In time, she saw the rat’s unease.  She listened to him whine at being questioned why he always had to come to Donkey for answers.  And why was Donkey’s name on all the work? Who exactly was doing the work? The questions coming at him were rapid and direct and not easily dodged.  That wily rat found himself nailed like a fat kid in dodge ball.

warren t rat surprised

And then, one day, happy news came her way – delightful, happy, wonderful news!  Can you guess what it was?  The gig was up! The rat was out – leaving the company.  Secretly Loudly she danced. She danced, she cried, she smiled so much and so often her face hurt.  She slept. She finally slept.  And dreams returned, in just days. Dreams returned.

happy donkey

Is that the Karma bus I see in the distance?

One morning, as she finally put into words what she’d experienced in her years with the rat, she felt the weight of a 250lb yoke slipping off her shoulders.  No more shackles to his messes, his problems, him. No more cleaning up, fixing up, and covering for.  No more. No more. No more.

And as she said it, she saw it, and the tears ran down her face.  Tears of liberation.

“You own everything that happened to you. 

Tell your stories. 

If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” 

– Ann Lamott

I’m that donkey.  And between now and 5:00 today I’ll lose 250lbs. By His grace, I’m a believer.

Dance with me, will ya? 🙂



Can you relate to this?  Whose yoke have you become used to? What needs to happen before you can put it down?



Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Coyotes, silence and Carpe Diem

It’s Sunday and I’m still in a bit of a fog after being “away” on vacation.  I went home to the family farm in Saskatchewan – to visit Mom, attend a wedding, and catch up with family.  Here are my random 5 thoughts from this past 10 days:

1. Lessons. Other travelers sure were chatty.  On 3 out of 4 flights I had someone older sit next to me and once they learned what I was up to every single one spoke longingly of their departed family members.  Some had a parent or sibling remaining, others had none.  It was not lost on me, as the youngest of 5, that time marches on and there will come a day when I don’t have them anymore.  Coincidences are just His way of remaining anonymous.

2. Time.  I found myself wide awake before 5:00 a.m. most days (that’s 7:00 a.m. in MI) and outside soon there-after. Hitting my 5 mile daily walking goal was a breeze. Most days I walked 6 miles before 9:30!  That time gave me the opportunity to visit with my brother & sister-in-law, chill with the farm dog & kitties, and drink in the intoxicating fragrance of freshly cut hay.  Ahhh.

Stevie the dog and the road to home.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Stevie the dog and the road to home. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.  Silence.  I hadn’t realized it until I was there but opportunities for meandering conversations with Mom don’t happen as frequently as they used to.  She doesn’t hear as well now and it frustrates her to miss out on things.  And as busy and restless as I tend to be, it was challenging to sit in the stillness with her.  But I’m glad I did because opportunities still came.   Case in point:  The day we left for the wedding city, a 2+ hour drive, I could feel her anxiety and sensed she might pull the pin on our plans.  It took several hours for me to get everything loaded up and once I had her buckled in I asked, “You ready, Thelma?”  Her response? “Let’s do it, Louise!” That – and a fist bump from my 85-year-old Mom – and we were off.   Traversing roads she hadn’t traveled for years I laughed when she chatted and commented the whole way there.  She told me, more than once, that she never could have gone without my help and thanked me time and again for making it so much fun. Priceless!

Me, Mom and my Sissy, Mother of the Bride.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Me, Mom and my Sissy, Mother of the Bride. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4.  Milestones.  We had fun at the wedding but, as we suspected might happen, the excitement and schedule left her a bit weary.  Plans to go out for a birthday supper were changed to a gathering at home instead.  She got into her comfy chair, surrounded by kids and grands, and smiled all afternoon. We enjoyed take-out Chinese food and my sister’s delicious home-made chocolate cake with Opal’s Caramel Frosting .    Between the pictures taken and the smiles shared we all felt a pinch wondering how many more times we’d get moments like this. Not one to dwell on such seriousness, she polished off her Caesar (aka Bloody Mary) and asked that we move outside — it was too hot in the house and she wanted to visit where it was cooler.  In the dusk of twilight, we listened to the yips and yelps of nearby coyotes and Mom had her own “Carpe Diem” moment right there.

Mom's 85th 2015

Mom’s comment: “I’m glad there are 2 big candles instead of 85 small ones!!” An Emjayandthem (C) photo.

5. Appreciation.  Being away from Hubbs made me appreciate him even more. How I missed our daily conversations and comments and humor.  How I missed being able to chat with my boys and get regular updates on their lives. I looked around my childhood bedroom and laughed to myself that the same types of things “saved” there are “saved” in my MI home.  I am my mother’s daughter in a very big way! My first morning back in MI youngest boy commented that he’d always known I did a lot (around here) but he didn’t know how much until he had to do it.  “All I did was clean and tidy up and take care of things and water your plants and look after the pool and … wow you do a lot!”  So as much as I love going away, hey, it’s good to be back home again.


*I’ve missed all my blogging friends and am way behind on reading your posts. I’ll catch up as soon as I can – in the meantime – how’s your week been?






Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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